Pregnancy And Flu – Learn About The Causes And Find Out What You Can Do
No matter how pregnant women try to be fit and healthy during the course of their pregnancy, there are still times when illnesses such as the flu inevitably come. Conditions such as influenza can really be harmful to pregnant women as it increases their risks for more serious health conditions. Compared to pre-pregnancy, the immune system during pregnancy is less responsive. The immune system understands that it is safe to have a baby, so it lowers its ability to protect the body. In effect, pregnant women are very likely to catch illnesses and infections including flu.ings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.
Pregnancy And Flu FAQs
What is influenza?
Commonly known as flu, influenza is a type of disease which is easily spread from one person to another. Anyone can be affected by influenza and to some people, it can really be life-threatening.
What are the symptoms of influenza?
Most people who are diagnosed with flu usually share the same symptoms. More often than not, the symptoms of influenza last for a couple of days. However, for pregnant women, children and adult, symptoms can manifest for a longer period of time. These symptoms include:
- Sore throat
- Stuffy or runny nose
- Extreme tiredness
- Muscle and body aches
If you are pregnant, you should extra aware of the changes that are taking place in your body most especially when you have been diagnosed with influenza. Immediately call a health care provider when you start feeling these symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty in breathing
- Sudden dizziness
- Persistent severe vomiting
- High fever
- The baby moves less or doesn’t move at all
- Symptoms that fade but eventually come back with worst cough and fever
- Pressure and pain in the belly area
How flu is spread?
As mentioned earlier, influenza is a highly contagious disease. When someone who has been diagnosed with influenza speaks, sneezes or coughs, the virus which causes flu is dispersed into the air. Breathing the same air increases your risk for this condition. Touching something which has flu virus can also trigger the onset of flu. When you touch something which has a flu virus and then you touch your eyes, nose and mouth, it can cause flu.
What about the flu shot?
The best way to get protected from influenza is to get a flu shot every year. Did you know that is also safe for both the mother and the baby to get a flu shot? Instead of getting a nasal spray, take a flu shot. Even pregnant women can take a flu shot. It helps in protecting the body against the harmful effects of influenza as well as in preventing its spread. According to research, babies who are born to mothers who have taken a flu shot are less likely to suffer from influenza. However, not all pregnant women are allowed to get a flu shot. Always ask your doctor about it. Women who are allergic to eggs are not supposed to get one because they are made from eggs.
How does influenza affect pregnancy)
Pregnant women who have been diagnosed with influenza are at a greater risk for more serious health complications. They are at higher risk for pneumonia which can really be fatal and deadly if left untreated. Also, flu during pregnancy increases the pregnant women’s risk for premature birth and preterm delivery. This premature delivery usually occurs before the 37th week of pregnancy.
As commonly known, premature birth increases the health risks of babies. Furthermore, influenza during pregnancy greatly affects the immune system of pregnant women. The immune system plays a vital role in protecting the body against diseases and illnesses. When flu is diagnosed, the immune system needs to work harder to fight it.
How can the flu be treated when pregnant?
If you have been diagnosed with influenza, always consult with, and follow your doctor’s prescription to keep your baby’s health and safety guarded. Your doctor can prescribe medicines which are considered safe for your pregnancy. Always try to get a good rest. Also, even if you don’t have a good appetite, try to eat smaller meals to expedite your recovery. And lastly, drink plenty of fluids. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of recommended fluids every day. It can really help in making you feel better.
Never forget to take your prenatal vitamins. Vitamin C is beneficial in fighting off infections and boosting the immune system, while zinc helps in fighting off germs. As much as possible, increase your intake of foods rich in Vitamin C to expedite your recovery from flu. According to research, fruits and vegetables like red cabbage, papaya, mango, broccoli, kiwi, citrus, melon, strawberries, bell pepper, tomatoes and spinach are excellent sources of Vitamin C. On the other hand, zinc is best derived from pork, yoghurt, cooked oysters, eggs, oatmeals, wheat germ, turkey and beef. Eating garlic can also help as it contains virus-fighting compounds. Never take medicines unless your doctor approves the medication. As commonly known, some medicines are not safe to take during pregnancy and it may cause adverse effects to the health of your baby.
What to do to prevent the spread of flu?
It is best to stay at home. Flu is very contagious so it’s better not to mingle and limit your contact with others for a while.
- Don’t kiss.
- Avoid touching your eyes, mouth and nose.
- Avoid sharing your utensils with others.
- Sneeze and cough into your arm or tissue. Throw the used tissues into the trash can.
- Wash your hands, or use alcohol or sanitizer, before touching others
- Use hot and soapy water when washing your utensils.
After giving birth, try to breastfeed your baby. It is an excellent way to give him or her additional protection. Through breastfeeding, you are able to pass the antibodies to your little one. According to research, babies who are breastfed are less likely to suffer from diseases and infections than babies who aren’t breastfed.
What Our Patients Say
“This is my second visit to Merrion Fetal, I was very pleased on both occasions. Lovely quiet waiting room, appointment was on time. The 20-week scan is very detailed we enjoyed watching our baby on the large TV screen. We got some beautiful photos. The nurse was very pleasant and talked us through all the measurements and anatomy. I would highly recommend this scanning clinic.”
“I had the best experience at the Merrion Fetal Health clinic for my 20-week big scan. The staff were so friendly and so nice and the lovely lady who did my ultrasound scan was amazing. She was so thoroughgoing to absolutely everything and gave me such reassurance on how my baby was growing and developing. I would recommend any Mother to be to attend here if you are looking for a comfortable, reassuring and super pleasant experience.”
“Highly recommend! We had an early scan due to a little scare at the start of pregnancy and then another at 12 weeks to make sure all was good again. Helen who was scanning on both days was fantastic. We felt totally relaxed and un-rushed while she took her time finding the best angle of baby to get us the clearest pictures as keepsakes all while making sure everything was perfect with baby. She reassured us throughout and I can honestly say it was the best money we ever spent getting both scans done.
Please let Helen know we are 18 weeks now and flying along Highly recommend!
Midwife sonographer facilitated
Consultant Led, Centre of Medical Excellence
All articles on the blog and website are intended as information only. Please do not consider any of the information provided here as a substitute for medical advice. At all times seek medical advice directly with your own doctor and medical team.
This website was formerly Merrion Fetal Health. The clinic has undergone a rebrand and is now known as Merrion Ultrasound.