"When women are pregnant, there's some concern about anything entering their system. The thought of having to get a vaccination alone is scary to a lot of them," Wolfe said, adding that they usually understand why it's important to get one after the teratologist explains flu risks to them.
Abramson said there's no way to get the flu from a flu shot (not the nasal spray) because the virus inside the shot is dead. Even once the baby is born, the mother's flu antibodies are passed to the baby through the placenta and protect him or her for up to six months. By then, the baby can get a flu shot, too.
Opdyke said pregnant women should get new vaccines as soon as they are available in the fall because their 8-month-old vaccines won't help them in a few flu season. In her opinion, the fear pregnant women feel about vaccines is nothing compared to what she went through without one, and she hopes women realize that flu shots aren't just hype.
"The other fear is being dead," she said. "It bothers me when there are moms out there that say 'No, no, no, never, never, never.' It's almost a slap in my face. I went through a lot."
Wolfe said a woman can get a flu vaccine at any time during her pregnancy. Other than the risk of miscarriage or premature birth if the mother is severely sick, a fever above 102 degrees presents the biggest developmental hazards to the fetus.
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A Danish study published earlier this month also found a correlation between the flu during pregnancy and autism, reinforcing experts recommendations that all pregnant women should be vaccinated.