Pregnant women's knowledge of influenza and the use and safety of the influenza vaccine during pregnancy

J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2009 Feb;31(2):120-5. doi: 10.1016/s1701-2163(16)34095-6.


Introduction: We wished to assess pregnant women's knowledge of influenza, vaccine safety during pregnancy and breast feeding, and the recommendations for use of the influenza vaccine in pregnancy.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional survey of postpartum women during influenza season in 2006.

Results: Pregnant women's overall knowledge of these subjects was poor. Most women (95%) knew that influenza is highly contagious, but almost 90% incorrectly believed that pregnant women have the same risk of complications as non-pregnant women. Only one half of the women were aware of national recommendations for vaccination during pregnancy and that the vaccine is safe during pregnancy and breast feeding, and 80% incorrectly believed that the vaccine can cause birth defects. Only 20% of women had been offered the vaccine during the current pregnancy or a prior pregnancy.

Conclusions: Pregnant women's knowledge about influenza vaccine recommendations and safety during pregnancy is poor. There is substantial room for improvement among prenatal care providers in both patient education and offering the vaccine.

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Humans
  • Influenza Vaccines*
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control*
  • Ontario
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / prevention & control*
  • Safety
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Influenza Vaccines