Influenza immunisation: should I have a flu jab?
Yes. Kensington Midwives advise all mothers-to-be to have the seasonal flu vaccination. Last year the Royal College of Midwives’ Deputy General Secretary said that midwives were, ”Strongly advised to encourage all pregnant women to be vaccinated against seasonal flu.”
If you are pregnant, you can also reduce your risk of infection by avoiding unnecessary travel as well and crowds. Good hygiene and healthy vitamin rich diet is also essential.
When pregnant you are also more at risk from flu as the immune system is naturally suppressed. This means that during pregnancy you are more likely to catch flu and, if you catch it, you are more likely to develop complications; shortness of breath, dehydration or even pneumonia. These complications are obviously not good for your developing baby, however, they are rare and the risk is small.
The first National Flu Vaccination Campaign for NHS workers was launched on 22nd September 2012. This aims to make it easier for midwives, doctors and other healthcare workers to be vaccinated where and when they are working, so they are more likely to have a vaccination. As the director of the NHS employers said, “ We want to help NHS staff to flight the flu, to protect the services they provide, their families and their patients. Flu has a hugely negative impact on the NHS and is fatal in too many cases.”
The NHS advises pregnant women to have a flu jab at whatever the stage of pregnancy they are. This year’s jab offers protection against the H1N1 (swine flu) virus, as well as other strains of flu virus. Perhaps husbands and partners would also agree to a flu jab this year in order to maximize the general health of their family.
If you think you may have flu, call you GP for an assessment rather than visiting the surgery. Remember, it is safe to take paracetamol during pregnancy to reduce fever and headache. Do not, however, take non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Ibuprofen (Nurofen).