Is The Flu Dangerous During Pregnancy?

flu's and cold's in pregnant women
Is A Flu Dangerous For Pregnant Women?

Women are just as prone to developing a cold or flu during pregnancy as when they are not pregnant. While it may be natural to worry, neither minor illness should cause you sleepless nights. To put things into proportion, on the worry scale of 1 to 10, where 10 is complete panic - a cold should be no more than 1/10 and a flu about 3/10. In comparison, bleeding during pregnancy or gestational high blood pressure could potentially be a 7/10.

So Are There Any Dangers Then?

Yes, this is why we put it at 3/10 on the worry scale. Catching the flu does have it risks, particularly if it is one of the widespread (pandemic) flus, such as swine flu (also known as the H1N1 influenza virus). Influenza in the first trimester of pregnancy can raise the risk of miscarriage, although this any miscarriage is more likely to be caused by the fever than the flu virus itself. In later pregnancy, getting the flu can increase the risk of pregnancy complications such as premature labor. This is why a flu shot during a pandemic is recommended for the protection of pregnant women. It is considered safe and has been shown to protect mothers and their babies for up to 6 months after childbirth. Research into the effects of flu and viruses on pregnant women is continually ongoing. One major study recently carried out by American and Finnish researchers on 6,000 children found that the children of mothers who suffered influenza or other fevers (not including a common cold) in the last 6 months of pregnancy were more likely to develop emotional and development problems - such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, meaning they find it more difficult to concentrate.

Bottom Line: If you get sick while pregnant with flu-like symptoms, call your doctor right away. If your symptoms are particularly bad he might prescribe an antiviral drug. If at any time your pregnancy healthcare team recommends a flu shot, it is probably worth doing so. If nothing more, it will give you peace of mind.

Useful Tip

Learn how to tell the difference between a cold and the flu:

Symptoms of a Cold

• Little or no fever
• Sore throat
• Runny nose
• Sneezing
• Mild tiredness and muscle ache

Symptoms of a Flu/Influenza

• Main symptom is fever, usually 38.8C to 40C
The following symptoms can also occur with a cold, but with flu they tend to be more severe:
• Sore throat
• Muscle or body aches
• Runny or stuffy nose
• Headaches
• Feeling tired
• Headaches
• Nausea (sometimes)
• Vomiting (sometimes)
• Diarrhea (sometimes)

For more detail: Do I have a cold or the flu?

Related Questions
Taking aspirin during pregnancy.
Taking tylenol while pregnant.
Fever in pregnancy: When to call a doctor.
Weight gain and diet: How much weight gain is normal in pregnancy?
Will pregnancy raise my blood pressure?
What are the signs of a miscarriage?

• Got another question? See: Womens Health Questions

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