Expectant mothers have plenty of challenges, physical and otherwise, to overcome during pregnancy.
A hospital stay caused by influenza should never be one of them. Enter: the flu shot. New research in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases describes the vaccine’s effectiveness in reducing pregnant women’s chances of being admitted to the hospital with the flu.
The study looked at medical records of pregnant women in four countries: Israel, the United States, Australia and Canada. First, the researchers sorted through 2 million patients’ records to eliminate those whose pregnancies did not coincide with flu season. However, 84 percent of the pregnancies did overlap.
The researchers analyzed the number of women hospitalized with certain medical conditions, the number of those women who tested positive for flu, and the number who had received that year’s flu shot. They found a pregnant woman who gets the flu shot to be 40 percent less likely to be hospitalized due to flu.
This number did not include women with high-risk conditions such as asthma. Unlike other research that has examined the vaccine’s effectiveness in preventing the flu, this study went more in depth and looked at the risk of hospitalizations for influenza and its complications, such as pneumonia.
Expectant moms are more susceptible to this and other complications, as pregnancy affects a woman’s heart, lungs and immune system. The flu shot provides an added bonus, too: some level of protection against flu for baby, for several months after the big debut into the world outside the womb.
Now, that’s a perk moms will really love.