The Dangers of the Flu While Pregnant

Contracting the flu is never welcome, and this is especially true during pregnancy. Having the flu while pregnant can increase the likelihood of getting a severe illness.  Your immune system is weaker while you’re pregnant and the demands upon your body are much greater. This increases your chances of contracting illnesses, and having them progress quicker. Some signs and symptoms of the flu may include:

  • Severe aches or pains in the muscles and joints

  • Headaches, dry cough, sore throat and/or runny nose

  • Muscle weakness or extreme fatigue

  • Warm, flushed skin and red, watery eyes

  • Pain and soreness around your eyes

When the flu becomes dangerous

Some studies have shown that pregnant women who deliver while they have the flu are more likely to deliver low-birth-weight babies and experience preterm birth. In rare occasions during very early pregnancy, a high fever during the first trimester can affect your baby’s development. To reduce a high fever, acetaminophen will help keep your temperature under control and will not harm your baby.

Seek medical attention if you are pregnant, have the flu and begin to experience:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen

  • Sudden dizziness or confusion

  • Severe or persistent vomiting

  • High fever that isn’t responding to acetaminophen

  • Bloody mucus

  • Minimized or no movement of your baby

What you can do

Getting your flu shot is one of the best things you can do to help prevent getting the flu. The flu shot is safe for you and your baby, and because it does not contain a live virus, it is impossible get the flu from it.   The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommend the flu shot for all pregnant women as they are a high risk group.  It is extremely important to note that the flu vaccine for fall 2015-winter 2016 is predicted to be extremely effective this year.  You do not want to get the flu mist or nasal spray vaccine as it contains a live but weakened virus. Other things you can do to help prevent the flu are:

  • Avoid people who have a cold or the flu, or are experiencing cold and flu-like symptoms

  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth

  • Wash hands often

  • Avoid crowds

For more information on maintaining your health during pregnancy, call the high risk pregnancy specialists at High Risk Pregnancy Center today at (702) 382-3200.