There are a number of reasons why flu shots are recommended to be taken during pregnancy, and now we are informed that there is yet another: a recent study has suggested that having a flu shot during pregnancy could lower chances of the baby developing mental illnesses such as schizophrenia later in life.
In the study, pregnant monkeys were examined, some of whom had mild influenza and some of whom were fully healthy. At birth all the baby monkeys appeared to be perfectly healthy and their birth weight normal as well. Their size at birth was normal as well as with normal behavioral and neuromotor activity.
However, when done a year later, differences were seen in the brains of those babies whose mothers had flu and those whose mothers had not.
The brains of those monkeys whose mother had the flu were noticeably smaller and had reduced areas of white and grey matter.
The changes that were seen in the flu group were similar to those observed in patients with schizophrenia.
Though the findings do not apply directly to humans, the researchers suggest that having a flu shot may prevent flu which in turn may prevent possible brain damage of the child.