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Flu Vaccines Not Linked to Pregnancy Complications

Study supports FDA and CDC monitoring data (August 8)

Pregnant women who receive flu shots are at no greater risk for complications, such as hypertension, urinary tract infection, or gestational diabetes, than unvaccinated women, according to a new study in Obstetrics and Gynecology.

The results are not surprising in light of previous research, said lead author Dr. Elyse Kharbanda.

“Studies of several thousand pregnant women in the scientific literature have assessed the safety of using the flu vaccine during pregnancy,” Kharbanda said. “These studies have shown no evidence of harm to pregnant women, to the unborn child, or to newborns of vaccinated women.”

Routine monitoring of adverse events by the FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also have not raised safety concerns, she noted.

The retrospective, observational cohort study included 74,292 vaccinated women and 144,597 unvaccinated women. The authors did not observe increased risks within 42 days of vaccination for hyperemesis, chronic hypertension, gestational hypertension, gestational diabetes, proteinuria, or urinary tract infection.

In addition, using a risk window from vaccination through the end of pregnancy, they did not observe increased risks after vaccination for proteinuria, urinary tract infection, gestational hypertension, pre-eclampsia or eclampsia, chorioamnionitis, puerperal infection, venous complications, pulmonary embolism, or peripartum cardiomyopathy.

Sources: Reuters; August 8, 2013; and Obstetrics & Gynecology; August 5, 2013.

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