Three-quarters of first-time expectant mothers plan to follow the recommended vaccination schedule for their children, a new study finds.
But the survey of 200 American women pregnant with their first child also found that 10.5 percent planned to spread out the recommended vaccination schedule, 4 percent planned to have their child receive some but not all of the recommended vaccines, and 10.5 percent were still undecided in their second trimester of pregnancy.
First-time mothers who weren't planning on following the recommended vaccination schedule said they got most of their information about childhood vaccines from online sources or family and friends.
This shows the need to find ways to provide these women with information from pediatricians and family doctors, according to study co-author Glen Nowak, director of the Center for Health and Risk Communication at the University of Georgia. The university conducted the study with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"Most of the moms-to-be indicated they were interested in information on childhood vaccines, but many were not actively looking for such information, and very few had received any from a health care provider," Nowak said in a university news release.
The study -- conducted between June 2014 and September 2014 -- did not include first-time mothers who said their children would not receive any of the recommended vaccines, a group believed to account for about 1 percent of parents.
How important do these mothers-to-be consider vaccines? Nearly 60 percent said they were very important for keeping children healthy. One quarter said vaccines were important. Those who were uncertain about their vaccination plans or said they would delay or avoid some vaccinations had less confidence in the safety, effectiveness and value of recommended vaccines, according to the study.
While most of the mothers-to-be said they had heard or seen widely used educational messages about childhood vaccination, there were major gaps in awareness among the survey participants. Many said they did not believe some of the educational messages.
"Along with suggesting that providing OB-GYNs with ways to connect first-time expectant mothers with vaccination information from health care providers, the findings indicate pediatricians and family physicians should be careful when it comes to assuming how familiar new parents are about childhood vaccines," Nowak said.
"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 concluded.
The findings were published recently in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.