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Doctors Urge Pregnant Women To Get Flu Vaccine
Updated May 5, 2013 12:12 AM
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - Doctors say it time and time again: to prevent the flu get a flu shot especially children, the elderly and pregnant women.

Erin Murphy, of WISH TV8 reports, doctors say it time and time again: to prevent the flu get a flu shot especially children, the elderly and pregnant women.

New numbers show pregnant women aren't always listening. A CDC survey shows during last year's flu season only about half of pregnant women got the vaccine, and according to doctors it's no different in Indiana.

Amber Baggett is expecting the birth of her third child. Baggett took special care of herself while pregnant and for her, that meant not getting the flu vaccine. "I just know a lot of people that have had the vaccine and they got sick afterwards, and I wasn't trying to get sick and be pregnant so I chose not to get it this time around," says Baggett.

Dr Christopher Mernitz of St Vincent OBGYN of Indiana says only about half of his patients get the vaccine. One reason is because they believe it makes them sick.

"Statistically, that's not really what we see, but its hard to convince people otherwise if they maybe had a mild reaction or coincidentally they got sick around the time they get their flu shot, lets face it its the time of year we get sick and, it could happen around a flu shot," explains Dr. Christopher Mernitz.

Dr Mernitz says pregnant women's immune systems are weakened, which is why it's so important. Also, a new study reveals women who get the flu while pregnant are twice as likely to have their child diagnosed with autism. "It is really important that all pregnant women get their flu vaccine during their pregnancy and we're right at that time of year right now when we need to do that," says Dr. Mernitz.

Nurse and expectant mother Hannah Thornton says she always gets a flu shot, but she knows many women who choose not to. "There is always that fear with immunizations. I have a couple of friends that are very natural they don't do any of the immunizations or any of that stuff they just think nature's way is best," says Thornton.

Doctors point out not only are pregnant women who get a flu shot protecting themselves, but also their unborn baby.

The antibodies are passed on through the placenta, which helps the newborn's immune system once born and until they're old enough to get the vaccine. Doctor Mernitz also says it's not just the flu vaccine that's essential, but he also recommends anyone who will be around a newborn get the whooping cough vaccine.

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