Moms who don't plan to follow the recommended schedule are more likely to get their information about vaccines from family, friends, or the Internet rather than a health care provider.
Planning to follow your baby's vaccination schedule to the letter? You're not alone.
According to a new survey conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the University of Georgia, 75 percent of first-time expectant moms said they wanted to adhere to the recommended immunization schedule. In fact, the vast majority of women polled said that the shots were important (25 percent) or very important (59.5 percent) for keeping children healthy.
Still, not everyone is on board with the immunization schedule. One in 10 mamas are planning to spread out their baby's vaccinations; 4 percent said they'd allow their child to receive some—but not all—of the recommended shots; and about 10 percent said they were still figuring out their plans. (Pollsters didn't include any of the estimated 1 percent of parents who plan to skip vaccinations altogether.) Among their reasons? Feeling less-than-confident about the safety and efficacy of the immunizations.
The survey, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that education about childhood vaccines is still an issue. Though most of the 200 moms-to-be polled said they wanted more information about the shots, many weren't doing the legwork needed to track down the research. Health care providers weren't much help either, according to respondents.
Interestingly, the data showed that preggos who had no intention of following the recommended schedule were more likely to get their information about vaccines from family, friends, or Dr. Google, says study co-author Glen Nowak, director of the Center for Health and Risk Communication in UGA's Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. "So finding ways to reach them with information from pediatricians or family physicians could be very helpful," he added.
Nowak also urged physicians not to assume their pregnant patients are in the know. "Some new moms may have a high level of knowledge, but most probably do not—and some of the things they are not aware of may help increase their vaccine-related confidence," he says.
Of course, I think the onus is also on us parents-to-be. Independent research is important and good—my husband and I did our fair share of it before our son was born—but so is hearing the facts firsthand from a trusted health care provider. We should feel empowered to ask our doctors whatever nagging questions we have, so we can make our decision with confidence.
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Bonnie Gibbs Vengrow is a New York City-based writer and editor who traded in her Blackberry and Metro card for playdates and PB&J sandwiches—and the once-in-a-lifetime chance to watch her feisty, funny son grow up. Follow her on Twitter and Pinterest.