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'Flu jab may reduce stillbirth risk'

31 March, 2016

'Flu jab may reduce stillbirth risk'

A seasonal influenza vaccination during pregnancy could reduce the risk of stillbirth, according to a new study. 

The results indicate that women who received the trivalent influenza vaccine during pregnancy were 51% less likely to experience a stillbirth than unvaccinated mothers.

Researchers also observed that stillbirth rates increased after periods of influenza virus circulation and decreased during the prior months.

The study, which is published today (31 March), is based on data from nearly 60,000 births.

Louise Silverton, RCM director for midwifery, said: ‘This latest study is really good news and shows how important the flu vaccine can be for pregnant women, it also adds to an existing body of evidence of the benefits for women who are vaccinated during pregnancy. 

‘Although, it is important to remember that the strain of flu can vary each year.

‘If caught, flu can be very, very serious for the mother and baby. The vaccine is effective for many people and it is certainly more effective than not having the vaccine.’

She added: ‘We urge midwives and other health professionals to have the vaccination to protect themselves, their family and the people they care for from the infection also.’

The study was undertaken by researchers in Western Australia and has been published by the Infectious Diseases Society of America.

The team used midwives' records to examine a cohort of 58,008 births: 52,932 to mothers who had not received the vaccine and 5076 to mothers who had been vaccinated during pregnancy.

All births took place in Western Australia between April of 2012 and December of 2013. The adjusted risk of stillbirth among vaccinated mothers was 51% lower than the risk among women who had not been vaccinated.

For more information and to read the study abstract, click here.

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