Midwife Connection: Should Pregnant Women Take the H1N1 Vaccine?

Eileen Ehudin Beard

During National midwifery week, a midwife recommends the swine flu vaccine for pregnant women in the United States and offers up more resources and information.

October 4-10 is National Midwifery Week! Each year during National Midwifery Week, midwives across the US raise
awareness of the midwifery profession and the services provided to women. Rewire will be publishing a series of posts this week from the American College of Nurse-Midwives blog, Midwife Connection, to recognize this week – and the care midwives, Certified Nurse-Midwives and Certified Professional Midwives, provide. Need a quick Midwife 101? Read more.  

This week, the first doses of H1N1 (swine flu) vaccine will begin
arriving at midwifery practices around the country. Although government
agencies and health care providers are urging pregnant women to get the
seasonal flu vaccine as well as the H1N1 flu vaccine, some women remain
hesitant. Pregnancy is a time to avoid caffeine, alcohol, and
unnecessary medications. So, why make an exception for a new vaccine?

As a certified nurse-midwife
and mom of five (plus five step daughters!), I am typically cautious
about new products. When it comes to H1N1 flu, however, I am absolutely
convinced that vaccination is a must.

Because of the normal
changes of pregnancy (for example, decreased ability to fight off
infections), pregnant women are especially susceptible to the harmful
effects of H1N1 flu. Research consistently shows that pregnant women
are at increased risk for serious illness and even death from H1N1
infection and are four times more likely to be hospitalized.

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you’re still on the fence about vaccination, consider this: for the
first time ever, a national coalition of eight organizations (including
ACNM, March of Dimes, ACOG, and AWHONN) has come together to develop a clear statement about the seriousness of H1N1 flu
and the importance of receiving the vaccination. This sends a pretty
clear message in favor of heading to your midwife to receive that

If one of your worries is thimerosal, a controversial
component of vaccines, about half the doses of H1N1 flu vaccine to be
released this fall are thimerosal-free and will be prioritized for
children and pregnant women. Ultimately, only you can decide what is
best for you and your family. I encourage you to give this issue
serious consideration and make a decision as an informed health care

Need more information to make your decision? Check out these helpful resources:

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