There is no link between a pregnant woman who is suffering from the flu, or receiving a vaccine against this infection, and the risk of her child developing an autism spectrum disorder, a study published Monday American journal JAMA Pediatrics.
Only 1.6% of the 196,929 children who participated in the study, after at least 24 weeks of pregnancy, were diagnosed with autism. Among the mothers of these children, less than 1% had been infected with the flu while they were pregnant, and nearly 23% had received the flu vaccine.
“Our data indicate that there is no link between influenza in a pregnant woman and the development of the autism spectrum disorder in her child,” explains Lisa Croen, author of the study and a doctor at the Kaiser Permanente Northern California in Oakland.
Dr. Croen believes there is no need to change the influenza vaccination policy for pregnant women. “We encourage women to get vaccinated during pregnancy,” she says.
Although several studies have explored a possible link between influenza during pregnancy and the development of autism in children, Dr. Croen and her colleagues note that none of them had previously been interested in the vaccine against The flu, recommended to pregnant women.
Influenza during pregnancy is still dangerous, says Dr. Loralei Thornburg, a high-risk pregnancy expert at the University of Rochester Medical Center in New York. In particular, it refers to the risk of premature delivery and congenital abnormalities.
“Vaccines have often been a source of concern, but the evidence suggests that they are not related to an increased risk of autism or any other perinatal complications,” says Dr. Thornburg. Participated in the new study.