Each year, the flu makes its rounds and hits thousands of people with miserable symptoms that can last a week or more. The highly contagious virus often causes high fever, chills, body aches, headache, and a nagging cough.
Certain populations, including infants, the elderly, and pregnant women, are at an increased risk of serious complications from the flu. Pregnant women are more susceptible to complications because of a lowered immune system and because the body is busy working hard to nourish you and your growing baby, so it isn’t as quick to fight off illness. Some of the potential complications of the flu during pregnancy include preterm labor and pneumonia, which can be life-threatening.
If you develop symptoms of the flu, be sure to call your physician right away. Possible warning signs include:
- Fever or chills
- Shortness of breath or trouble breathing
- Dizziness or confusion
- Noticeably less movement from your baby
- Chest or abdominal pain
- Cough, particularly with bloody mucus
- Severe or persistent vomiting
A flu vaccine is the single most effective way to prevent the flu — and it’s safe to get during all stages of pregnancy. If you’re pregnant, it’s important to talk with your obstetrician about getting the flu shot early in the season. Some other things you can do to help prevent the flu include:
- Staying away from people who are sick with a fever, cough, sore throat, or runny nose.
- Washing your hands often, especially after using the restroom and before eating.
- Trying not to touch your face — including your eyes, nose, and mouth — because this is usually how the virus enters your body.
Most pregnant women who get the flu recover without a problem — but it’s important to be aware of the increased risk for problems. If you do get sick, early treatment and proper rest and fluids are the best way to help your body get better. Be sure to call your obstetrician right away if you have any symptoms that worry you.
CarePoint Health Family Birth Centers
CarePoint Health is dedicated to providing you with the individual care and attention you need so you can relax and focus on what is most important — the birth of your new baby. To learn more about caring for yourself and your baby during pregnancy, view our list of upcoming classes.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.