Pregnant? Getting a flu shot could prevent autism for baby-to-be!

by Mollee Bauer

Flu shot prevent autismWith autism on the rise in the U.S. (affecting 1 in 88 children), many parents-to-be are trying to find out how to prevent the possibility of ASDs.

A new preliminary study that was published November 12, 2012 in the journal of Pediatrics found that if a pregnant woman has contracted the flu or had a prolonged fever during her pregnancy that her baby-to-be could be at an increased risk for autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The study is still being greeted cautiously and that it is an exploratory study.

"It's intriguing, it's suggestive, but it's still is very preliminary," said Marshalyn Yeargin-Allsopp, chief of the developmental disabilities branch of the CDC.

The researchers gathered data from close to 97,000 children born in Denmark between 1997 and 2003. They asked their mothers to report on any infections they had while they were pregnant and if infected what antibiotics they took to relieve the symptoms.

The study concluded that common infections like colds and urinary tract infections didn't present themselves as a major risk factor for autism. However those whose mothers had the flu, were twice as likely to be diagnosed with an ASD before they turned 3 years old. The study also discovered that mothers who had a prolonged fever lasting one wee or more were three times as likely to be diagnosed with an ASD.

This new study also linked antibiotic use during pregnancy to a slightly hither risk of autism but didn't have a definitive reason as to why.

According to an article published in the Huffington Post, Irva Hertz-Piciotto, professor of public health sciences with the University of California Davis' MIND Institute, calls the study "noteworthy" and says it's a great addition to the research correlating the possible link between maternal infection and autism.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a flu shot for everyone who is at least six months old, and includes pregnant women on its list of people for whom vaccination is particularly important.

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.