Dangers of flu during pregnancy – expectant mothers encouraged to BEAT FLU now
The Royal College of Midwives is again backing pleas for pregnant women to protect themselves and their unborn babies this winter.
Health officials have this week stressed the real dangers of influenza (flu) to pregnant women, and are reminding expectant mothers to get protection for themselves and their unborn baby against flu.
Pregnant women are vulnerable to infections, and can’t fight off the flu virus as well as other people. A pregnant woman who catches flu is more likely to deliver early, or for the baby to be stillborn or very ill in the first week following the birth.
A pregnant woman who catches flu is seven times more likely to die than a non-pregnant woman with flu.
Flu vaccine protects the mum-to-be and her baby, before it is born and also in their first few months of life.
Flu vaccines can be safely given during pregnancy, so health officials in Wales are encouraging pregnant women to have their free flu vaccine and help protect themselves and their unborn baby.
Commenting Helen Rogers, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) Director for Wales said;
“We strongly recommend that pregnant women have the flu vaccination during the flu season (autumn and winter) to protect themselves and their baby from the effects of flu. Women can have the flu vaccine at any stage during their pregnancy and it is important to do this as soon as possible.
“We also urge midwives and other health professionals to have the vaccination to protect themselves, their family and the people they care for from infection as well.
“No expectant mother should take the unnecessary risk of not having the flu vaccine. I would urge any pregnant woman who is unsure to speak their midwife or GP.”
Flu vaccination will save mothers’ and babies’ lives. Lots of information and data on flu vaccines used in pregnancy has been collected from across the world and there is no indication that these vaccinations have any adverse effect on mother or baby.
Dr Richard Roberts, Head of the Vaccine Preventable Disease Programme at Public Health Wales, explains why, and how, pregnant women should protect themselves from flu:
“Expectant mothers do not have the same ability as other healthy people to fight viruses such as flu, which is an illness that can be devastating for the woman and her unborn baby.
“If a pregnant woman catches the flu it can cause severe complications to mother and baby: but this can all be prevented with one quick, simple, vaccination”.
The annual flu vaccination programme aims to ensure that the people who need it most get free protection each year against the flu. This includes everyone aged 65 and over and people with certain long term health conditions, as well as pregnant women.
All children aged two and three years old on 31 August 2016, and children in reception class, year one, two and three in school are also being offered protection with a nasal spray flu vaccine.
The two and three year olds will have their nasal spray vaccine at their GP surgery and children in reception class, year one, two and three (generally aged 4 – 7 years old) will be offered their nasal spray vaccine at school.
For more information about pregnancy and the flu vaccination visit www.beatflu.org or speak to a midwife. Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com