Kerryn Boogaard Kerryn Boogaard
Beverly Goldsmith Beverly Goldsmith
Zoe Bingley-Pullin Zoe Bingley-Pullin

Pregnant women urged to get flu vaccine:

It may not seem like it, but winter isn't far away so, if you're pregnant, it's time for a flu vaccine.
By Motherpedia
Date: April 17 2013
Tags: health, pregnancy,
Editor Rating:

Pregnant women should get their 'flu shot before the full force of winter hits, acording to Michael Nicholl, Associate Professor of Obstetrics, Gynaecology & Neonatology at Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney. 

A/Professor Michael Nicholl said women in their second and third trimester of pregnancy are at greater risk of very severe illness from influenza.

“Pregnancy takes its toll on a pregnant woman’s respiratory and immune systems, so even healthy women with an uncomplicated pregnancy can develop life-threatening influenza,” he says.

“Having a vaccination during pregnancy has shown to benefit mum and baby, with protective antibodies being transferred from mum, protecting the baby for up to six months.”

Influenza vaccines are not available for children less than six months of age so protection can only be achieved by vaccinating a mother during pregnancy.

“The risk of premature labour and delivery is also increased in pregnant women with 'flu,” A/Professor Nicholl said.

To date, rates of influenza vaccination in pregnant women have been low - perhaps because of the warmer-than-usual April weather in most of the country.

Influenza vaccine is free for pregnant women from your GP and can be safely given to women planning to have a baby or at any stage during pregnancy irrespective of delivery date.

A/Professor Nicholl said influenza vaccinations are not the only way that pregnant women can lower the risk of getting sick.

“Firstly, you should limit your contact with others who are sick,” Associate Professor Nicholl said.

“If you do get sick, you should cover your mouth with a tissue when coughing or sneezing and dispose of the tissue immediately. If a tissue is not available then cough into your elbow as well as washing your hands regularly, especially after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose.”

If you are pregnant and develop symptoms of influenza you should contact your doctor as soon as possible, as treatment with antiviral medication may be advised.

You can find detailed information about vaccination here. To make an appointment online visit 1stAvailable

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