August 5th, 2009
12:05 PM ET

Swine flu vaccine for pregnant women

By Miriam Falco
CNN Medical News managing editor

Last October, I blogged about why health officials say pregnant women need to get a flu shot. (Full Story) Reporting on the need to get vaccinated against the influenza virus is something medical reporters do every year. Why in October? Because that's when the vaccine is usually available and when flu season is right around the corner. Why pregnant women? Well, as I learned last year, if a pregnant woman gets the flu, it could lead to serious complications including pneumonia, dehydration and hospitalization. Because pregnancy changes a woman's immune system, she can get a lot sicker than women who aren't pregnant. She can even die from it.

What was even more alarming was learning that the flu can also lead to preterm labor and fetal demise, according to one of the top flu experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Dr. Carolyn Bridges. The CDC also found that less than 14 percent of pregnant women between the ages of 18 and 44 actually got a flu shot during the 2006-2007 flu season. I was pregnant last October. After speaking to health officials and several moms who had experienced the flu and told me they’d never been so sick before, I decided that for me, avoiding the risks to me and my unborn child was worth getting a flu shot. Apparently it worked because I didn't get sick.

But now it's August, not October. So why are we thinking about the flu already? Because of the new strain, H1N1. Health officials are now saying that pregnant women not only need to get a seasonal flu shot, but they also should be vaccinated against this new, 2009 H1N1 pandemic flu, better known as the "swine flu" (even though pigs have nothing to do with it) - once the vaccine has been tested and deemed safe.

Last week, the CDC's point person for this new strain of flu virus, Dr. Anne Schuchat, told reporters that pregnant women are “disproportionately” affected by this virus and that they have a fourfold increase of being hospitalized compared with the general population.

The H1N1 virus is causing worse complications and severe infections in pregnant women, Schuchat said.

A study published in the medical journal The Lancet found that pregnant women are more likely to die from this virus and that vaccinating them is one important step to prevent such serious complications.

Health officials told reporters this week that once the H1N1 vaccine is proven safe and becomes available, those in the high priority groups will have to get two H1N1 flu shots – three weeks apart, in order to get full immunity. Those high priority groups include not only pregnant women, but also household contacts of children under 6 months of age (because those children can't get the vaccine); children and young adults age 6 months to 24 years; health care workers and emergency medical personnel; and non-elderly adults with pre-existing medical conditions. It will take two weeks after the second flu shot to build up to full immunity, which means the whole process to protect yourself from H1N1 takes a total of five weeks. Since this new flu vaccine isn't expected to roll out until mid-October, health officials don't expect the population to be protected until the end of December.

Given the experience earlier this spring, where swine flu rapidly spread in some schools and colleges and other places with lots of people in close quarters, health officials are bracing for a big uptick in people getting sick as the regular flu and the new H1N1 flu viruses spread during the cold weather months.

So this year, I once again am pondering what to do. This time it's a lot more difficult because come October, my little son will be just old enough to fall into the priority "six months to 24 years-old" category. Should he get two brand new flu shots plus a seasonal flu shot? It's not an easy decision. Fortunately, I still have a little time to think this over.

How about you? Are you pregnant? Will you get seasonal and H1N1 flu shots when available? Are you a parent of a newborn or infant and are you planning vaccinations for yourself or your child?

Editor’s Note: Medical news is a popular but sensitive subject rooted in science. We receive many comments on this blog each day; not all are posted. Our hope is that much will be learned from the sharing of useful information and personal experiences based on the medical and health topics of the blog. We encourage you to focus your comments on those medical and health topics and we appreciate your input. Thank you for your participation.

soundoff (124 Responses)
  1. Mary B

    While I can certainly understand everyone's worries about taking anything while pregnant, what I don't understand are many posters' inability to comprehend that, when you are pregnant, you are at a greater risk of contracting the flu – be it seasonal flu or H1N1 – because your immune system is compromised. This also means that you are at *greater risk of complications* and *more likely to require medical care*. So whether or not you ever got the flu shot before is irrelevent if, at that time, you were not pregnant. Unless you have a compromised immune system or are high risk for complications generally.

    Being pregnant puts you at a greater risk. That is scary to me. I just got my flu shot yesterday, at 5 1/2 weeks pregnant. This is my 3rd pregnancy in a year, the other two miscarried, and I also am on blood thinners twice daily and progesterone twice daily to help carry this baby to term. I did look into the shot, and asked pharmacists, my maternal/fetal medicine dr, nurses at my OB clinic, and all agreed I should get one ASAP. So I did. The risk of getting the flu while pregnant is much higher than the risk posed from the shot. If you are worried about the preservative in the flu shot causing problems, then get the preservative free shot. Though I will say that there have been many studies and NONE have proven that vaccines cause Autism or are related to Autism. Many women get flu shots while pregnant, and the vast majority of these babies are totally healthy and normal.

    I did what I thought was best. I took my dr's, my nurses, and my pharmacist's advice, because, frankly, they know more about obstetrics than I do, and I want an expert helping me to make these decisions. I would rather get the vaccine and protect myself from getting severely ill (and perhaps even dying) than to worry about the minimal effects the vaccine may cause. Just my 2 cents.

    October 14, 2009 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Carla

    I am a registered nurse who had probable H1N1 flu in August when I was 16 weeks pregnant. I just want to let all you pregnant women out there know that pregnancy and the flu is an extrememly miserable and dangerous situation.

    I definatly have my concerns/worries regarding all vaccines, but after experiencing the flu in this pregnancy I would encourage all pregnant women who have a likely change of exposure to any influenza to get the vaccines.

    My fevers were so high I was forced to take Tylenol every 6 hours to protect my baby for two weeks. I don't like to take medications, but the fevers are much more dangerous to the baby than the Tylenol. I also resorted to taking Sudafed and Robitussen DM in order to get just a little restless sleep. I was sick for literally 10 times as long than my co-workers who had the same symptoms, and used up half my maternity leave in the process.

    I have had influenza before, but this was completely different–I still am worried about the harm I may have caused my baby with the illness and medications I took to survive and avoid hospitalization. I lost 10 pounds, had to take a month off of work, and still have a lingering cough!

    The good news is that my baby seems to be doing just fine despite the illness, but I wouldn't wish the experience on anyone!

    October 14, 2009 at 17:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Shanon

    I am almost 3 months pregnant and have decided not to get the H1N! shot. I am too nervous about putting this new vaccine into my body without knowing the possible risks to my unborn baby and to myself. I do not believe there has been enough testing on the new vaccine and will not be getting it.

    October 15, 2009 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Jennifer W.

    Thank you to everyone who listed their reasons for or against this vaccine. I am 19 weeks pregnant with my second child. My doctor's office had called me this afternoon to inform me that they received the vaccine, and since I was on their high risk list, they wanted me to come in ASAP to receive the vaccine. I was on the fence, but after reading the professional opinions from Dr. Aldis (who I think has been unfairly judged here) and Dr. Jarvis, as well as first hand stories from Carla and Cindy, I will be getting the vaccine tomorrow morning.

    There are risks in every part of life. We do the best we can to keep ourselves and our families safe. We wear seat belts in the car to reduce risk, but that doesn't always prevent fatal accidents caused by other drivers. Yes, there is a risk in taking the vaccine because of the unknown variables, but the greater risk would be to contract the virus and possibly end up dead. That is not an extreme outcome, just the greatest risk that I am going to try to prevent for myself, my baby, and my family.

    I feel I am better informed after reading what everyone had to writte. Thanks again for those who shared their stories.

    Cindy, I am very sorry to hear about your loss. Carla, you are the one who finally convinced me!

    Please stay healthy everyone, and be considerate towards everybody.

    October 15, 2009 at 16:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Fran

    I am 31 weeks pregnant, have a 5 year old son and 3 year old daughter. I am also someone who prefers to do things as naturally as possible, keeps unnecessary additives and preservatives out of the foods and drinks we consume and is against anti-bacterial soaps, etc. And we got our h1n1 shots on Wednesday.

    As a mom it's incredibly hard to decide the best decisions for your family. I really appreciate Dr. Aldis and Dr. Jarvis' opinions. There is risk in everything and I agree with Dr. Jarvis that there are so many other culprits that people don't even think about that cause so much more risk!

    I am not judging anyone who is choosing not to get it, but for anyone else who is on the fence and pregnant or has little ones, just go with your gut and do what you feel is the best thing for your family. That's the best you can do. Being a mom is a really hard job. You hope that your choices are the right ones, but one never knows what will happen.

    I feel that based on my OB and pediatrician's advice, and knowing how widespread the virus is in my county, that getting the vaccine was the best thing for us. And I am resting a little easier at night knowing we got it. We will continue to wash our hands and take the proper precautions.

    Now my greatest concern at this point is for my children. They received their first dose however, with the news of production taking longer and our county clinic not sure how much they will have left - what will happen to them if they can't receive their second dose? Can any of the MDs weigh in on this for me?

    Best of luck to all those still deciding!

    October 17, 2009 at 08:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. John Aldis, MD

    I am glad to hear you are going to accept the immunization. As for the question about your children, since they have received their first immunization, I suspect they will receive at least some protection, although I cannot find data to support that "hope."

    The vaccine shortage is really unfortunate, and I fear that many will not be immunized at all. You and your children (and your babe) are fortunate that you have been (at least partly) immunized.

    There is not a lot that any of us can do but try to prioritize who receives the scant remaining supply (pregnant women, young children, healthcare workers, and adults with significant comorbidities).

    October 20, 2009 at 18:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Karyn

    Does anyone know if a test is available to see if a person has already been exposed to the swine flu. I do not want to have the vaccine if I may already be immune by a past infection

    October 20, 2009 at 20:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Zeline

    I am 34 years old and my husband and I have been trying for our second child (I could be pregnant now but it's too soon to know). The only time I got a flu shot in the past, I got sick, but then again I got sick during years when I didn't get the flu shot either. This time however, I am leaning towards getting the shot and the reason is this: someone I know in the medical field has witnessed the deaths of 3 women who were either pregnant or just delivered their babies and who were infected with the swine flu virus. This led me to do my own research on the internet and a lot of information I read pertaining to pregnant women indicated that they are disproportionally dying from complications of this virus. I don't want to be injected with a vaccine that isn't perfect, but I'd rather put my trust in a less than perfect vaccine than risk death from the swine flu virus.

    October 21, 2009 at 19:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Michelle Witt

    Timing is everything. After battling thyroid cancer, a mysterious syndrome that my 15 month old had (2 yrs ago) which started as a fatal metabolic disorder diagnosis but ended up being the effects from toxic mold, I am now confronted with whether to get the H1N1 vaccine.

    I have staggered my sons vaccines due to his terrible problems 2 years ago brought on by the toxic mold. I have always been skeptical of giving more than one vaccine at a time. I am now entering into the final phases of IVF (because of our CF carrier status) and I am scratching my head at the disbelief of our timing.

    For the first time in my life, I got the regular flu vaccine one month ago. I got the one that has only trace amounts of Thimerosol. I have done lots of research on the H1N1 vaccine and have discovered that it does not have any aduvants (like squalene which some have considered can trigger auto immune problems) in it like the vaccines in Canada and parts of Europe. There should be a vaccine that is close to being mercury-free for pregnant women and young children. After reading that, I have decided to get it.

    My friend is an ICU nurse in San Diego and has seen 2 people come in with complications from the swine flu. One patient was pregnant and almost died. The fetus was 28 weeks old, and they were shooting her lungs with steroids, and pumping the pregnant mother with antibiotics and antiviral meds. Given that they don't like pregnant women to take Tylenol, I cannot imagine that this situation could be any worse than the H1N1 vaccine. I am not a doctor and realize this conclusion is purely anecdotal in nature.

    The other patient had NO underlying problems. He was around 20 and healthy. He will probably will have to have kidney transplants due to the complications from swine flu. He was 20. I think that how this flu affects you is dependent on many factors that we can never truly understand from genetics to individual factors that are hard to quantify.

    But I cannot imagine not getting it and then thinking that being admitted to an ICU (which is full of MRSA and other scary germs) and being pumped full of drugs is going to be a better solution. We eat well, take immune boosting vitamins like D and minerals like zinc, limit sugar intake, and wash hands all of the time. I have to believe that the vaccine is the lesser of two evils.

    October 21, 2009 at 20:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Courtney

    I am 6 weeks and my OB recommened that I get the vaccine. After debating and talking to a family friend who is also a doctor that has looked into the vaccine, I received my vaccine this morning. As much as I want my baby, I also have a 3 year old to take care of. If I am sick in the hospital I won't be doing much good for me, my unborn baby, or my 3 year old (who is 'attached to my hip'). I am also a 3rd grade teacher. I Lysol my room daily, wash my hands 15-20 times at work, and encourage my kids to bring germ-x to wash their hands. But no matter what I do I will still be exposed to the virus because it is spreading like crazy at my school!

    October 22, 2009 at 11:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. AD

    I am also 6 weeks pregnant and am terrified of getting the vaccine. My OB and a family friend whom is a doctor both recommended it without hesitation. I guess I am just scared of a miscarriage. Since we have just recently had one this Summer. Does a vaccination put you at higher risk of miscarriage? Especially because I am so early in my pregnancy.
    However I am at very high risk of getting it especially of where I work. I am surrounded by it and that scares me terribly. I think I just might get it.

    October 22, 2009 at 20:12 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Niki

    My 2 1/2 year old and I both had the swine flu. I am 7 months pregnant and did not taking any meds other than acetaminophen. My son was taking tamiflu. It's been almost 2 weeks and we're both doing just fine.

    October 22, 2009 at 21:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Rob H

    Important information for you. It sounds fairly safe to me.


    October 24, 2009 at 03:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Liz

    I am currently 34 weeks pregnant. I am also a teacher in a high school that is dealing with an outbreak of the H1N1 virus. Kids and teachers are getting sick left and right; including myself. I came down with the virus this past week and it has been the worst flu experience I have ever had. I called my doctor right away and started on Tamiflu, which seems to be helping some. However, I wish that my area of the country had access to the H1N1 vaccine. Thus far, none of my health care providers have had access to the vaccine. Neither have any of the nearby health departments. I wish I would have been vaccinated...I would have been the first in line.

    October 24, 2009 at 13:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. jennifer

    This is the same swine flu virus that was around in the 70's so older people most likely have already been expose. They are giving the flumist to younger children and the injection for people 2-18 years old. The vaccine for the pregnant woman is not a live virus.

    October 24, 2009 at 14:44 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Pregnant

    I am 13.5 weeks pregnant and received the H1N1 vaccine a few days ago. It was not the mercury-free or preservative-free version. My OB said that the risks of the vaccine are far lower than the risks of contracting swine flu as a pregnant woman, so I am taking her advice. I have a 2 year old at home and will vaccinate her when available to her age group in this area. I won't take the risk of dying or being hospitalized as a mother – my 2 year old needs me to be healthy for her, and I need to stay healthy for my unborn baby as well. As my OB said, I wouldn't be asking any questions or thinking twice about the drugs they would be pumping me full of in the hospital if I got this flu – and not all of those are necessarily approved for pregnancy. The H1N1 vaccine is approved for pregnancy – I just have to trust that the CDC would not recommend something that is not safe for pregnant women.

    October 25, 2009 at 14:49 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Cook

    i am 21 weeks pregnant, and at first i was really scared about this and i was dead set on NOT getting it! I had my monthly check up and asked my DR and he had just got back from argentina and studied the H1N1 vaccine, and agreed all pregnant woman should get it. He has never been on to get any vaccination, but he is dead set on getting this vaccination, and he said his OB patients are FIRST on the list of getting this vaccination. After talking it over with him,i agreed to take it, MD's have their education, i don't, i took the vaccination this morning. In my own opinion i don't think pregnant women or young children would be FIRST on the list for getting the vaccine if it was that dangerous!

    October 26, 2009 at 16:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Tracy

    Im 5 weeks pregnant with my 5th child & havent yet been offered the swine flu shot, but already had the regular one (before i got pregnant).

    Having read the posts from pople in the medical profession, I will be getting the shot as i have severe asthma & that already puts me in a high risk group. I know what its like to get a cough, cold or flu & end up bed-bound on steriods & anti-biotics & struggling to eat & even breathe while others recover with ease. Perfectly healthy people are struggling with this form of flu, so of course people with weakened immune systems will be worse!

    I usually stay away from medication when pregnant & indeed i am one that tends to avoid it (apart from my annual flu shot) even when im not pregnant. But this one im having, with 5 children in school & my husband commuting to work daily i am sure to be exposed. Even if i 'got through' the flu okay, it would surely leave me weakened – i need to be strong & healthy, as we all do, to give birth. Not weak prone to infection!

    There are always risks – we just have to weigh them up.

    October 26, 2009 at 23:25 | Report abuse | Reply
  19. tina

    I am 14 weeks prego with a 5 yr, 9yr and 11 yr old children. I homeschool and am not out in public very often accept to grocery shop or something small. I do not plan on giving the shot to my children nor do I plan on getting it myself. I do not agree with the timeline they have given for the testing and the fact that they have rushed this vaccine just tells me that they are more afraid of a huge outbreak and are scrambling to get something out there to calm the peole. All we know is that this vaccine could very well be just another flu vaccine. Or it could be very rushed process of something dangerous.

    October 28, 2009 at 13:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. nancy

    It's everyones choice to take or not to take the H1N1 vaccine as adults, but we are supposed to make our best choices weighing the risks and benefits of our children. How about those kids sent to schools ill. Sure, we can wash our hands 20 million times a day but there's other out there on the public who DO NOT! And we need to protect ourselves from them. Last week I was shopping at a local store looking for a pattern to make a Halloween costume for my daughter, there was a lady looking at one of the pattern books, coughing, sneezing, flipping through the pages with her infected hands, she did not look good, she looked sick, unfortunately the next person who goes to flip through that book will most likely become ill next.

    October 30, 2009 at 08:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. Elaine

    The last time I took any form of vaccine shot was in 2003 when I was still in the military. I have a 8 yr old daughter who have asthma, at night it is difficult for her to breathe and i am also 17 weeks pregnant. I have been living in fear of either me or my daughter catching this virus. Right before school started for the fall, I watched my daughter suffered for more than a month from her asthma and being congested and stuffy just about every night. I thought i was doing the right thing by treating it, but i was not.

    I have watched the news on a regular basis read reports constantly just to be more educated on this H1N1 vaccine. In the past she has had pneumonia and could not breathe, i made the decision for her to get the vaccine because i rather have around to drive me crazy than not have her at all. After scouring the Internet to find a clinic that offers it, she finally got her first dose this past Tuesday, i am grateful for it. She has no symptoms and for that I am also grateful.

    As for me, I am an high risk pregnancy and with the swine flu I am at a double whammy, well I also made the decision that I would rather be around to take care of my daughter and husband than them having to live the rest of their lives without me. As someone else's said there are risk with every day living and so the vaccine is no greater risk. I got my regular flu shot and H1N1 vaccine yesterday with no preservatives. The benefits outweigh the risk of death for me and my family.

    October 30, 2009 at 11:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Rosario

    I am 13 weeks pregnant with my first child. I am from Argentina and live in DC. I got the seasonal flu shot a month ago and the H1N1 last night. Unfortunately, Argentina was swiped with cases of H1N1 this year resulting in a lot of deaths. A girl I grew up with died of pneumonia complications related to H1N1 at 8 months pregnant, the baby could not be saved.
    I am in a group that is at high risk of getting H1N1, these are my options: A- If I got H1N1 it pretty much guarantees: 1- that I would have to be treated with who knows how many drugs and what kind in order to save my life, or 2- death; and B- get the H1N1 vaccine that prevents the influenza, is "approved for pregnancy", and is "expected", as the CDC puts it, to be as safe as the seasonal flu vaccine.
    You have to put it in the balance, and put your trust in the CDC. I chose B.
    I read about Guillain-Barre Syndrome, it is truly scary. Still, you have to decide what risk you want to take. Unfortunately, hoping not to get sick, washing my hands or stocking up the pile of sanitizers in my pockets or purses is not enough for me.

    October 30, 2009 at 11:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. EH

    I am 21 weeks pregnant with my first child, and I am a juvenile diabetic. I have absolutely NO concerns about getting vaccinated for the H1N1 and seasonal flu.....except that there is absolutely no place in the area that is currently offering either of them. I've called county health departments, hospitals, any doctor's office with which I am even remotely connected, pharmacies.....nothing. Thankfully, my diabetes is very well controlled (using an injectable insulin that is NOT officially approved for use during pregnancy, BTW - but I firmly believe that elevated blood sugars are a more certain risk than my meds) and I rarely get sick....

    October 30, 2009 at 13:10 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Shannon

    Hi Paige,

    I am halfway through a doctorate in public health. I also have three masters degrees ( one in biolology) - and I am six months pregnant. I do know that in my community there are a number of pregnant women in ICU on ventilators (very serious). Some of the women have not made it. I am not saying this to scare anyone, but as the vaccine is now becoming available it is so important for you to get it. I got it this past week and had overcome a long line and someone who turned me away saying that they had to cut the line off at me when there was nobody else behind me. If I were NOT pregnant I probably wouldn't have gotten it, but it is so important to me that this baby be born and have me as his mother. I know there will be no better mother to this baby than me. Moreover, the antibodies that I produce in the respnse to the vaccine will be imparted to my baby so that he will be protected when the pandemic is perhaps ongoing. The H1N1 vaccine has no surprises. It is prepared in the same manner as every flu vaccine is prepared. I have not had any side effects from it other than the usual tenderness at the injection site. Please have a little faith that the experts know what they are talking about and do not take the risk of being one of the women in ICU.

    October 30, 2009 at 14:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  25. Shannon

    For anyone concerned with the connection between vaccinations and autism, one merely has to look at a "study" that was carried out in Japan between 1989 and 1993. During this time, the Japanese government discontinued the MMR vaccinations. The study involved a population of 300,000. There was no decrease in autism during this time, and in fact actually an increase.

    If you want proof of how vaccines save lives then just go to any old cemetary and see the devastation that these horrible childhood diseases had on these families. Smallpox is the only disease that has been globally eradicated. There are many emerging infectious diseases and many "old" diseases that are re-emerging or have the potential to make a comeback.



    October 30, 2009 at 15:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. Stephanie

    I am 30 weeks pregnant and suffering through gestational diabetes. I just received the vaccine approved for pregnant women 2 days ago. As of now the only side effect I noticed was a little bit of sweating late the first night about 12 hours after the vaccine. It was gone a few hours later and I have felt perfectly fine every since.

    For me, and I tend to be very wary of unproven vaccines with little or no long term testing, the fact that 1 -4 pregnant women will suffer severe complications upon contracting the swine flu, that the rate of death for a pregnant women is much, much, higher then normal person; in addition to the evidence that it can cause pre term labor and fetal demise, was enough for me to chance it and get the vaccine. Not only does the vaccine protect you but that protection is also passed on to your baby, who is also at very high risk. I question everything and for me this was a no-brainer.

    October 31, 2009 at 16:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. Lacey

    I received the swine flu vaccine Friday Afternoon, it was a very tough decision I am due with my first child November 17th. My doctor told me that my baby won't be able to recieve the vaccine until shes atleast 6 months old and by me getting the vaccine those antibodies will go to her and she too will be protected from it.Thats mainly the reason why I got it. But now all of a sudden saturday morning I have a fever, dizziness and a really bad headache and then later saturday a soar throat ,muscle soreness, sneezing and a stuffy nose has all added to this. I am just wondering what could be wrong with me and if this is just the normal side effects that other pregnant women who have got the vaccine have gotten?

    November 1, 2009 at 20:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  28. Mallory Bilger

    As a 25-year-old mother of a 10-month-old and expecting another little one on the way, I certainly opted to get the seasonal and novel H1N1 vaccinations.

    This is the fifth year in a row that I've received the seasonal flu shot, so I felt pretty confident that it wouldn't have any strange side effects. However, I was a bit leery of the novel H1N1 vaccination because of its newness. But my trusted OB-GYN recommended that if I could find it I should get it because the benefit greatly outweighed the risk. Also, it would be the only way that antibodies would be passed on to my unborn son who is due in January.

    I have obtained the novel H1N1 vaccine for my daughter, who is currently in a daycare setting on a regular basis where H1N1 has been rampant.

    We have not noticed any strange/weird side affects, other than the usual pain at the injection site. My daughter ran a slight fever and was fussy for a few days after getting the first round of the novel H1N1 vaccination, (infants must have two shots) but I have found this to happen with all of her vaccinations

    I would strongly suggest it for pregnant women and infants.

    November 4, 2009 at 17:28 | Report abuse | Reply
  29. Nancy

    After weeks of searching for the vaccine, I finally was able to get one yesterday at a public clinic. (None of my doctors have received any of the vaccines to date.) I have had no reaction to this shot, or even any soreness in my arm. I am 23 weeks pregnant, with asthma, and I feel like a huge burden has been lifted off my shoulders. I have been constantly worrying that my son was going to pick up the virus at daycare and pass on to me. Every little headache, upset stomach and cough kept me up at night. My only concern now is that the vaccine is effective enough to protect me. I would definitely recommend getting the vaccine to any other pregnant women I know.

    November 4, 2009 at 17:32 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. EA

    Woow this is reallly scarry. I am 25 weeks pregnant with my second child and i recently had the H1N1 vaccine. IT was available at my clinic and my doctor told me that it is safe. but now reading all this stuff am reallly scared. was it safe to get the vaccine? I have not been able to sleep or eat since reading all of this stuff. I am just thinking about what could possibly happen. Is there any other pregnant women who took the vaccine. How do you feel about? I really hope that i made the right choice and that it will not have any bad side affects.

    November 8, 2009 at 13:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. Nakia

    I am 15 weeks pregnant and very scared to get the H1N1 shot. I work in a physicians office, and the pediatricians I work for keep telling me how important it is to get the shot. Im still having doubts, maybe because I feel it was made too fast.

    November 9, 2009 at 18:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  32. Jennifer W.

    EA, I have received the H1N1 vaccine. I am 22 weeks with my 2nd. It has been almost 4 weeks, and aside from the soreness at the injection site, I have had no complications whatsoever. A few people at my workplace have come down with H1N1 flu, and I feel so much more protected now that I have the vaccine. I am not scared to go into work like I used to be. I only wish the vaccine was available for my 2 year old. His pediatrician's office still doesn't have it. There are statewide clinics being held with the vaccine, but I can't make my 2 year old wait in line for 7 hours for only a chance at receiving the vaccine. He goes to two different daycares, and I know how easily germs are spread, despite the best efforts of the caregivers.

    I had previously been on the fence about receiving the vaccine, but now I recomment the vaccine for everyone.

    November 10, 2009 at 15:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Sara

    I am 19.5 weeks pregnant with my first baby. I live in the Atlanta, GA area. I have consulted with my OB, a pediatrician and all of the medical professionals I am acquainted with all of them emphatically have said GET THE SHOT. My dear friend is 17 weeks pregnant and an Neuro ICU nurse she received the shot before I did. After researching day in and day out online and talking with others, I decided to get the shot IF I could find a preservative-free version. PROBLEM...my OB has not received any, I called 15 Atlanta metro area health departments to be told they were out of the vaccine and they also said they did not know what preservative-free vaccines were, little lone if they would get any. I found that Emory and Kennestone (where I will deliver) had the vaccines (I was not told if they were preservative-free or not) however, they refused to give me the vaccine because I was not a patient of a Dr. at their facilities. Yesterday, I DROVE to Illinois and received a preservative- free H1N1 vaccine. Yes, I had to drive 18 hours round trip to get the ONLY POSSIBLY safe vaccine. I am absolutely horrified by the way in which the CDC, vaccine manufacturers and government have handled the distribution and further horrified by the fact that local medical hospitals and networks are hoarding the vaccine and refusing to vaccinate pregnant women. I will say that Illinois has passed legislation banning Thimerosal from vaccines, that is the most likely the only reason they have received the preservative-free versions. I am lucky and did a LOT of homework to decide if I wanted to get this vaccine, but I can say I am happy that I did. I feel that being healthy for my little girl and protecting her until she is 6 months old is better than being a slave to fear or putting the two of us in a very risky situation. One vaccine is better than the possible outcome.

    November 11, 2009 at 10:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  34. Karen

    I am 5 weeks pregnant and teach elementary school. I have one confirmend case of h1n1 in my classroom with 3 others out. We also have 3 teachers who have come down with h1n1 as well as several students over the last few weeks. I went to my obstetrician/gynocologist yesterday and requested the shot. His response was "what is the rush?" He also siad he would not vaccinate until he knew my pregnancy was viable. I have an appointment in 3 weeks to see if it is viable on ultrasound. Our county is offering a mass vaccination for children, pregnant women, and people with underlying health conditions. Would it be wrong to consider my pregnancy viable and go to the vaccination clinic? What do you think John Aldis, MD?

    November 13, 2009 at 21:42 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. courtney

    i am 7 months pregnant and have not yet recieved my H1N1 shot, i have however gotten the regular flu shot. i am very scared about getting the swine flu vaccine just for the simple fact that people havent bothered to test it yet, what do you expect us to do, just sit around, or play russian rouilette with my unborn son. I DONT THINK SO.

    November 13, 2009 at 23:01 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. John Aldis, MD

    Thank you for your question. It is an important one.
    I am reluctant to answer your question directly on this list because of some of the responses (see in the string above) that have been sent to the list.
    Can you send me an e-mail to the following e-mail address and I will answer your question.
    John W. Aldis, MD
    AAFP, MPH & Tropical Medicine

    November 14, 2009 at 07:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. J

    I am 6 weeks w/ #3 & received the H1N1 this morning. Pretty much a nervous wreck since then.

    Opted for the vaccine as I have a 4yr old in preschool and next fall, my newborn will be too little to be vaccinated. My 2yr old got very sick in Oct from something my son picked up from school.

    I thought about a very sick 3 month old who might need to go the ER or be put on meds. None of my children have ever been on any antibiotics. Much harder for a 3 month old to fight a nasty bug than a 2yr old.

    I hope I did the right thing. I don't want to worry the next 8 months!

    My husband told me the anxiety I am creating is probably more harmful than the shot 🙂

    November 15, 2009 at 16:17 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. Expectant Mother

    I am 22 weeks pregnant. At first, I was totally against the vaccine. I've never gotten a flu shot and was scared off by what others were saying about the vaccine being new and untested. I have since come to my senses and I am glad I did. I got one of the last preservative-free vaccines in my city last week. I was so anxious about getting the swine flu that it was taking a toll on me. I would wake up every morning stressed out about it. That is not healthy for me or my baby. I got my toddler the vaccine as well.

    After speaking to medical professionals and no longer listening to those who are conspiracy theorists, I feel good about my decision. There are a lot of people out there who are so paranoid about this for no reason. We are not guinea pigs...this is a flu shot...no flu shots are extensively tested because there isn't enough time between production and the start of flu season. Pregnant women get flu shots every year and nothing is different about their babies compared to women who do not have flu shots. Having a toddler and working with children, I know that I will be exposed. For me, the "risks" associated with the vaccine outweighed possibly getting very sick and having to take Tamiflu or worse. Also, a high fever can be detrimental to an unborn baby. I did not realize this until I did some research.

    I've never been worried about the flu before and when I was pregnant with my son my OB never even mentioned getting a flu shot, and I was due during flu season. The H1N1 is different, thus the panic and anxiety. It's normal to be worried about getting a vaccine when pregnant, and a new one at that. But, don't let the media and message boards scare you. Many people are so outspoken about the vaccine and they have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. Think for yourself, do your own research, talk to a doctor you trust, and do what's best for you and your unborn baby, whether that means getting the vaccine or not getting it. Just be informed so you can be okay with your decision. Best of luck to all of the expectant mothers.

    November 18, 2009 at 03:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. Joyce

    Everything I read says over 6 month babies get the H1N1 flu vaccine. Does weight have any influence on this? If a child was born premature & is still only 12 pounds at 6 months, would you still use the 6 month rule?

    November 18, 2009 at 13:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  40. Kat

    I'm currently 17 weeks pregnant with my first child. My partner and I were dead set on not getting the H1N1 vaccine. But after speaking with my OB, gp and other pregnant women I'm getting the vaccine later today. Basically I was told that although currently in Australia there is a low risk of catching the swine flu if I did there is a high risk that I will miscarriage, go into premature labour or die. The benefits of having the shot fair out way the risk of losing my baby.

    November 18, 2009 at 19:23 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. paul

    Show the truth,
    In Portugal, pregnant women took the flu shot, and now in only one week, 3 embryos were death...
    Coincidence or not, I don't think sooooooo...

    November 18, 2009 at 19:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Virginia

    My husband and I were trying for months to get pregnant. We had finally been blessed with a baby due in June 2010. I was terrified and hesitant to get the H1N1 vaccine. I am a pediatric nurse, currently in a masters program to become a PNP. Having a child of my own has always been my dream. I wanted to do what was best for the baby, that was every thought going through my head, everyday. I had finally decided to get the vaccine after talking to about four different physicians about my hesitations. I decided to get the shot and not think about it again.
    I had a ultrasound at and a half weeks and the fetus had no heartbeat. The ultrasound the week prior revealed a heartbeat. I will never know if the vaccine actually caused my miscarriage, but I feel in my heart that it did. I should be receiving the pathology results from my D&C Friday. I wish I could go back, I should have listened to my gut, I feel so stupid for getting a vaccine that had not even undergone trials.
    It is Thanksgiving and I am finding it is a very difficult time to be thankful.

    November 25, 2009 at 17:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Sharon Carroll

    When I first started reading and replying to this post several months back, I seemed to be one of the only ones who was OPPOSED to not only people in general getting this vaccination, but PROFOUNDLY AGAINST pregnant women getting this shot! To allow this system to shoot a toxic and untested substance into you, your fetus or your children??????? Have we lost our minds for sure?


    November 27, 2009 at 00:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  44. PM

    I am very sorry for your loss.

    November 27, 2009 at 17:26 | Report abuse | Reply
  45. Nancy

    To Sharon,

    I'm not sure what your opposition to this vaccine is, but that is your right to be opposed to it. Everyone needs to make their own choice based on their individual circumstances. As an asthmatic, I am more prone to complications that could lead to my death, as well as the death of my unborn child. I had my H1N1 vaccine about a month ago, and I have had no reaction to it. My fetus is still thriving, and I'm at 7 months now. My 3-year old has had his vaccine as well, with no reaction as well. The only issue I have is that the vaccine wasn't as readily available to insured people as it was to the uninsured population.

    You should ask the parent of a child that has died of the H1N1 strain to see what their opinion is on whether or not to get this vaccine. I imagine they aren't as close-minded as you.

    One final note: There has been testing of this vaccine, which is very similar to the regular seasonal flu vaccine. Studies on both of them have concluded that the vaccine poses less of a risk than actually catching the flu.

    December 1, 2009 at 14:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  46. Sharon Carroll


    My opposition is the same as hundred of thousand of other mothers and parents who are also against this and other vaccinations! And I do know someone whoSE 4yr old daughter died as a result of a vaccination and I was replying to the post to the mother who just lost her fetus after receiving this shot. This is my opposition and my right! I WILL NOT ALLOW THIS SYSTEM TO SHOT TOXIC SUBANTANCES INTO ME OR MY CHILDREN! You Nancy have the right to choose to do so, and it seems you've made your choice, so you should not have a problem with me making mine.

    Neither me or my children have have the flu in more than 10yrs! And we have NEVER gotten flu shots. As far as your immune system, maybe you should begin to research the facts on curing the health issues you have, because I know people who have done so, but it means NO QUICK SHOTS, and a lot more discipline and responsibility in taking care of our bodies naturally! TAKE THE TIME TO GET EDUCATED MY DEAR BEFORE YOU MAKE JUDGEMENTS ON PEOPLE WHO ARE TRYING TO SAVE THE LIVES OF THOSE WHO WILL REACT TO THIS SHOT!

    December 2, 2009 at 12:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  47. pregnant

    It's funny to me that so many pregnant women are freaked out by this vaccine, yet these same women eat Doritos and drink Diet Coke all day long. I am more fearful of the junk in our processed food than a vaccine that can save my life and my unborn child's life, that is made exactly the same way as the regular flu vaccine. To each his own.

    December 3, 2009 at 20:14 | Report abuse | Reply
  48. Nancy

    You're an idiot. There is no cure for my health issues, just as there is no cure for many of chronic conditions, just controlling of the symptoms. I am an asthmatic, whose symptoms are well under control naturally (like you suggested I try) when not pregnant. When pregnant, natural remedies don't work. The only thing I can do to control it is to take a drug that is KNOWN to cause birth defects.

    After discussions with my doctor, I have chosen not to take these medications for my asthma, but instead get innoculated against H1N1. If I get H1N1 as a pregnant asthmatic, the odds are highly in favor of me being hospitalized and potentially dying from this disease.

    My advice was to make an informed decision for yourself, with guidance from your healthcare professional. Not to blatantly spread lies, based on your own half-hearted research from non-medical personnel, discouraging other women from getting this life-saving vaccine. Please feel free to post this conclusive evidence that leads you to believe that vaccines are "toxic substances". Try reading any number of studies put out on the CDC or AMA's websites, for an opposing view.

    Since you haven't had the flu in awhile, maybe you don't understand the implications of how severe this disease can be for a pregnant women. Watch the news if you are confused.

    I did say it was your opinion to be opposed to this vaccine, as is mine to believe that getting the vaccine has saved my life and that of my baby. As the shortages in my area suggest, you are definitely in the minority, so quit posting in all caps as it seems like you are yelling at everyone opposed to your close-minded opinions.

    As for me needing to "get educated", I can guarantee that I am more educated than you are based on your comments. I have been in the healthcare industry for over 15 years and have never met a single healthcare practicioner opposed to any of these vaccines.

    December 7, 2009 at 13:56 | Report abuse | Reply
  49. Jacqui

    After reading all of the above, I really am super confused as to whether or not to get the Swine flu vaccine. I am 19 weeks pregnant and we have a swine flu clinic on Saturday (UK) which I can take myself and my little boy to (21 months) – am terrified that something might happen to my son and my unborn child after having it and I know I would never forgive myself. Likewise, if I don't have the jab and I / my son contracts Swine flu and becomes ill and something terrible happens as a result of that, I would also not be able to live with myself. If only they made it compulsory then I wouldn't have to think about it and it would be someone elses fault ;0(

    December 8, 2009 at 07:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  50. Jennifer W

    Jacqui, hope this helps you...

    I am now 26 weeks along in my pregnancy. I received the H1N1 vaccine almost 2 months ago and have had no side effects whatsoever, just the peace of mind knowing that me and my baby are protected from H1N1. My 2 year old son also received the vaccine about a month ago and he is doing well. No complications whatsoever.

    December 8, 2009 at 10:59 | Report abuse | Reply
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