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Flu in pregnancy, Autism linked??

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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
Replies (61-70):
Charizma77
by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 1:11 PM

I have a child with autism but never had the ful while pregnant.  I was healthy as a horse!  Seems there is always a new link to autism. 

A_McCool
by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 1:15 PM
3 moms liked this

I'm likely autistic (suspected Asperger's Syndrome), and I don't believe this crap.  It seems to me that there is far too much emphasis on trying to determine what causes autism and curing autism and not enough on helping the people (including adults) that are autistic learn to cope and thrive.

Quoting Mom2jngnc:


Quoting darbyakeep45:

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:)

I am with you on that, I too have an autistic child and I can't have a flu vaccine. My best friend has an autistic child, and she doesn't believe in the flu vaccines at all. 

So moving on, they will find a new straw to grasp at and spread more panic.


Schleetle
by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 1:23 PM
2 moms liked this
Same here. I get a little stressed out thinking this, or that causes Autism. It a lot of time implies that the mother did something "wrong", and it's just all too much to hear sometimes. IMO when the cause is unknown it has to do with genetic predisposition, but of course I am no expert.

Quoting darbyakeep45:

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:)

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ilovemykids323
by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 1:34 PM

 i'm not buying it. it seems like another one of those things to scare people. now if everyone that didn't get the flu shot and got the flu had an autistic child. fine i might believe it then. there could also be so many other factors that caused it.

sashamom03
by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 1:51 PM
My daughter was diagnosed with the school system. She has Asperger's. They told me she is showing mild symptoms. I came down with two nasty colds in my pregnancy and when I was in labor, I came down with a really nasty sore throat and it led to another cold. The fetus does control a womans immune systems. It pretty much takes it over. I would say most moms come down with something during their pregnancy. I heard a lot of bad stuff about the flu shot. That it causes Alzhiemer's.
aimhawk
by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 1:56 PM

I had the flu while pregnant with both children so far my oldest isn't autistic and my little one is too young for the "signs", but he his hitting all developmental marks on time.

I have never had a flu shot and I plan on never getting one.

Ama1987
by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 3:53 PM

Exactly! When something is supposedly so great for you and so amazing why are there so many employers who offer it for free, so many pharmacies that offer it for so cheap....if it is so great and awesome why not charge people more since it's supposedly worth so much. I have never and will never get the flu shot. The levels of Mercury are ridiculous, and vaccines in general are linked to sterility, Alzheimer and I'm sure more as well.

Quoting emmy526:

so now the scare tactic for pregnant women will be, 'You don't want your child to have autism do you? Get a flu shot and chances are good your child won't develop autism"....smh


louzannalady
by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 4:36 PM

Did they take into account the number of babies miscarried after the flu shot, who never even got a chance for us to determine whether or not they were on the spectrum? Things that make you go "Humm....".

louzannalady
by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 4:38 PM

Or do they take into account the heating of the tissue and fluids around baby during prolonged ultrasounds? Hum... 

But_Mommie
by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 5:10 PM

My opinon is that this is yet another dead end research effort that found nothing conclusive.  How can you find that mothers who had the flu are twice as likely when we already know Autism is more pomonent in boys... did being pregnant with a boy make you twice as likely to have the flu??

 My son has Autism and Had no fever or flu with my pregnancy.  I had a horrible fever and stimach virus during my pregnancy with DD and she is nero typical...

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