The Swine flu vaccination — commonly known as the H1N1 vaccine — has been connected with increased miscarriages in anecdotal evidence. A new study, however, shows that the swine flu vaccine in not linked to increased miscarriages. In fact, another study suggests that both pregnant mothers and their babies are benefited by being vaccinated.
The idea that the swine flu vaccine given to Norwegian women in 2009 increased their risk of miscarriage has been dismissed as false, according to a recent study published inThe New England Journal of Medicine. In the midst of the swine flu epidemic a few years ago, rumors that the vaccination could cause pregnancy loss spread. The rumor caused many pregnant women to avoid the vaccination, citing pregnancy risk as their reason.
The swine flu is highly contagious, and its symptoms are similar to that of the regular flu: body aches, cough, chills, fever, headache, and sore throat. It can be dangerous, even deadly, for the unborn, and for small infants. After the anecdotal link between the H1N1 vaccine and miscarriage, however, Norwegian officials decided to perform a study to see if the anecdote could be true.
Researchers analyzed medical archives of Norwegian woman and found evidence that the H1N1 vaccination does not increase the risk of miscarriage. In fact, being infected with the flu does significantly increase the risk of losing the unborn baby. Therefore, pregnant women who receive the vaccination and avoid getting swine flu were less likely to miscarry than women who got the flu because they were not vaccinated.
Dr. Camilla Stoltenberg, Director General of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, notes, “Norway is one of very few countries that have the opportunity to study these issues because of our excellent health registers. The registers include information about pregnancy and pandemic vaccination.”
Dr Stoltenberg adds, “It is reassuring that such a large and comprehensive study did not find any evidence that vaccination increased the risk of foetal death. he results suggest that influenza during pregnancy can be detrimental for the foetus, even if the mother is not seriously ill and admitted to hospital.”
The risk of losing the baby, according to the study, is doubled if a pregnant woman is infected with the flu. The risk decreases after receiving the vaccination.
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