For expectant mothers, the flu can be dangerous to you and your unborn baby.
Can I get the flu if I had the flu shot?
Yes, but it’s still worth getting the flu shot. While the flu shot is strongly recommended for pregnant women, some influenza strains are not covered by the shot. For the 2017-2018 flu season, the influenza shot reduces your chances of contracting the flu by about a third. Although the effectiveness rate is lower than in some years, it still reduces your chances of coming down with the flu. Your OBGYN can provide additional information and answer questions about the flu shot in pregnancy.
What risks are associated with influenza in pregnancy?
Pregnancy adds stress to your body, especially your heart and lungs, which can suppress your immune system. As a result, you are more susceptible to illness, including the flu. With a compromised immune system, it is more difficult for you to fight off illness, as well. Contracting the flu when you’re pregnant can lead to pneumonia or require hospitalization. Influenza in pregnancy has also been linked to increased risks of miscarriage, premature birth and low birth weight
How do I know if I have the flu?
Typical influenza symptoms can leave you feeling achy and fatigued with chills or fever. Other symptoms include loss of appetite, headaches, diarrhea and vomiting. Shortness of breath and coughing are common, as is runny nose and sore throat. If you experience any of these symptoms during your pregnancy, call your OBGYN immediately.
What if I have the flu?
It will take time to recover from the flu. You should rest and make sure you get plenty of fluids.
If your OBGYN determines you have the flu, you will likely be prescribed antiviral medications that are safe for you and your baby. These medications can reduce the length of the flu and are most effective when taken as soon as symptoms appear.
Your OBGYN can also recommend over-the-counter medications that are safe for your to take. It’s important to call your doctor before taking anything, as some treatments may only be safe in your third trimester, not your first or second.
Speak with Dr. Nathan T. Thomas if you suspect you have the flu.