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Flu in pregnancy, Autism linked??

Posted by on Nov. 13, 2012 at 8:17 PM
  • 91 Replies

A Danish study published online today in Pediatrics is already causing concern among pregnant women -- and sparking criticism.

After NBC aired a segment about the study on "Today," questions about the methods used in the study arose as quickly as alarming headlines suggesting a link between fever or flu during pregnancy and autism.

The Danish researchers questioned mothers of almost 100,000 children born in Denmark between 1997 and 2003 about their history of infection, influenza and antibiotic use during pregnancy.

The results initially seem significant: Women who reported having the flu while pregnant were twice as likely to have kids who developed autism.

A week-long fever indicated a tripled risk. But, as the authors themselves point out, "misreporting of influenza is likely to be considerable," and "The results may be due to multiple testing; the few positive findings are potential chance findings."

Others questioned the comparisons drawn in the study: "The more comparisons you make, the more likely some difference will look important when it's not," Emily Willingham wrote for Forbes.

"[This] study is purely explorative and it is far too soon to suggest any clinical implications," HealthDayquotes study lead author Dr. Hjordis Osk Atladottir, of the Institute of Epidemiology and Social Medicine at University of Aarhus. "Indeed, the study shows that around 99 percent of women experiencing influenza, fever or taking antibiotics during pregnancy do not have children with autism."

Other recent studies have had mixed findings: a Swedish study found no link between infections and autism, although a study from the U.S. found that women who had fevers while pregnant were twice as likely to have a child with autism or a developmental disorder, and another Danish study showed an association between hospital visits in the first trimester and autism.

While the results of the study may be speculative, advice seems to be consistent on one front: if you're pregnant, get a flu shot.

What are your opinions on this? Does this make you want to get a flu shot (considering you are pregnant, that is)? 

by on Nov. 13, 2012 at 8:17 PM
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by on Nov. 13, 2012 at 9:29 PM


by on Nov. 14, 2012 at 7:01 AM
5 moms liked this

It's interesting but I still would not get the flu shot while pregnant (or any other time)

by on Nov. 14, 2012 at 7:07 AM
2 moms liked this

I don't believe that...I didn't have a flu shot while I was pregnant, and my son is Autistic.  I personally don't believe all the junk out there about what "causes Autism"...just me though:)

by on Nov. 14, 2012 at 9:11 AM
My oldest child has a form of autism, he has aspergers and I think that is hereditary. (I swear his dad has a form of it sometimes lol). I do remember being sick when I was pregnant because I took Tylenol PM (the pm part was an accident) and I felt horrible about that!

With my youngest, I got a flu shot for the first time ever. I was scared to death of the swine flu. Anyway, I had an allergic reaction to the shot and broke out in a horrible itchy rash all over my body. Now he is almost 2 1/2 and seems ok to me. And after my first, I am looking closely at this ones development.
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by on Nov. 14, 2012 at 9:34 AM
With my second there was a vaccine shortage so I caught swine flu before I got the shot. I was on tamaflu and got the vaccine after and my girl is just fine.
I got the vaccine for the first time with my oldest she's fine also.
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by on Nov. 14, 2012 at 9:41 AM
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I think the study is flawed.


by on Nov. 14, 2012 at 11:37 AM

I'm not pregnant but this wouldn't have changed my opinion of flu shots.

by on Nov. 14, 2012 at 6:46 PM

I'm sceptical of them; my hubby never gets sick, and the one time he got a flu shot, he got sick. I won't need to make that decision.

by on Nov. 14, 2012 at 6:51 PM
2 moms liked this
Oh geez here we go again. My youngest son has autism and my belief is that its a dna or rna chromosome defect. I don't know there's so many theories out there. We just don't know the true cause(s) yet and probably won't for a long time.
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by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 1:06 AM
1 mom liked this
What's with CafeMom pushing vaccination today?!

The article briefly mentioned antibiotic use and first trimester hospitalization. I have to wonder if fever or the treatment of it is the issue.
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