Pregnant women's perception of risk with use of the H1N1 vaccine

J Obstet Gynaecol Can. 2011 May;33(5):460-467. doi: 10.1016/S1701-2163(16)34879-4.


Objective: During the H1N1 influenza pandemic in 2009, The Motherisk Program, a counselling service providing teratology information, received many calls from pregnant women inquiring about the safety of the H1N1 vaccine. We wished to explore pregnant women's perception of risk and the factors associated with deciding whether or not to receive the vaccine.

Methods: Pregnant women who called Motherisk between October 1 and November 30, 2009, requesting counselling regarding the safety of the H1N1 vaccine, and who had not yet received the vaccine, were contacted for follow-up using a structured questionnaire.

Results: One hundred thirty women completed the questionnaire; 104 (80%) had received the H1N1 vaccination following their call to Motherisk, and 26 (20%) had not. More than 70% of the women cited confusing and frightening information in the media as a trigger for their concern, prompting them to call Motherisk. Sixty percent stated that information from their primary health care providers or Motherisk contributed to their decision making.

Conclusion: The H1N1 vaccination rate in pregnant women who contacted Motherisk was higher than the rate in the general population, as many followed Motherisk's recommendation to receive the vaccine. During this period, the media appeared to provide pregnant women with confusing information. In any future pandemic scare, accessibility to primary health care providers or specialized information services such as Motherisk will be key to providing guidance for pregnant women.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Canada
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Humans
  • Influenza A Virus, H1N1 Subtype / immunology*
  • Influenza Vaccines / administration & dosage*
  • Influenza, Human / prevention & control*
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Education as Topic*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / prevention & control*
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / psychology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Vaccination / psychology*
  • Vaccination / statistics & numerical data*
  • Young Adult


  • Influenza Vaccines