Pregnant and Recently Pregnant Women’s Perceptions about Influenza A Pandemic (H1N1) 2009: Implications for Public Health and Provider Communication
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Lynch, M.M., Mitchell, E.W., Williams, J.L. et al. Matern Child Health J (2012) 16: 1657. doi:10.1007/s10995-011-0865-y
- 370 Downloads
The objective of this study was to explore pregnant and recently pregnant women’s perceptions of influenza vaccine and antivirals during the 2009 H1N1 pandemic. We conducted 18 focus groups with pregnant and recently pregnant women in three US cities in September 2009. Participants were segmented into groups by insurance status (no or public insurance vs. private insurance), vaccine attitudes (higher vs. lower likelihood of acceptance of any vaccines, not only influenza vaccines), and parity (first child vs. other children in the home) based on information they provided on the screening questionnaire at the time of recruitment. We found that women are not well informed about influenza vaccinations and antiviral medicine and have significant concerns about taking them during pregnancy. An interest in their infant’s well-being, however, can be strong motivation to adopt preventive recommendations, including vaccination. A woman’s health care provider is a highly trusted source of information about the 2009 H1N1. Pregnant women have unique communication needs for influenza. Messages directing pregnant women to adopt public health recommendations, particularly for vaccination or prophylactic medication should include a detailed description of the benefits or lack of risk to the fetus and the safety of breastfeeding. Additionally, messages should recognize that pregnant women are taught to be selective about taking medication and provide a clear rationale for why the medicine or vaccine is necessary.