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Just thinking of the word 'flu' sends a chill down my back ... Prevention is essential if we do not want to fall into the clutches of influenza, but it is even more important for pregnant women. According to one study, the most severe cases of the flu in pregnancy are at higher risk for premature delivery and other complications.
Pregnant women who become seriously ill from the flu are more likely to have premature births and low birth weight babiesas well as other complications during delivery, compared to other mothers who developed less severe flu or did not contract the virus. This is demonstrated by a study (Outcome of infants born to women with influenza A H1N1) published in the journal Birth Defects Research.
To reach these conclusions, researchers have studied and compared the cases of pregnant women infected with influenza type H1N1 and other healthy ones. And the results showed that women who had to be admitted due to this disease, they faced more complicated deliveries.
Specifically, it has been concluded that women who experienced a severe flu during pregnancy are 4 times more likely to have a premature delivery. On the other hand, the chances of having a lower Apgar score are 8 times higher when going through the disease. This is the test performed on newborns to check if they are in good health (heart rate, the child's muscle tone, the color of their skin, etc. are measured).
With this research, experts want to educate pregnant women about the importance of putting on the flu shot, a recommendation that many other health organizations such as the World Health Organization also support.
We can all get the flu, and despite the risks it may have, we cannot lock ourselves at home waiting for all viruses to pass us by. That is why the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has produced a short guide with flu prevention measures and care for pregnant women. Here are some of the most important points.
1. Get vaccinated against the flu
The most important measure to protect against the flu is to get vaccinated. According to this organism, in addition to protecting the mother herself, this preparation also helps the baby not to become infected after delivery, since the mother can pass some antibodies to it. According to a recent study, the chances of developing a severe case of the flu requiring hospitalization are reduced by 40% after vaccination.
2. Avoid people with the flu
Avoiding direct contact with people who are having the flu, and therefore staying home when you are sick, will help the illness spread to fewer people.
3. If you notice symptoms, see a doctor
Getting early flu treatment is very important for pregnant women, as complications can be avoided in this way. Many of the medications given for the flu are most effective when given early. Never self-medicate, as you could take a drug that is not compatible with pregnancy.
4. Watch for fever
According to the CDC, a high fever during pregnancy can cause problems with the development of the baby. Therefore, it is important to monitor the temperature and see a doctor if necessary.
5. Be careful when you cough or sneeze!
Remember to always cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing. And don't forget to wash your hands well with soap! They are simple measures but, if we all always took them into account, contagions would be reduced. Think of yourself and the people around you.
6. Sleep well and eat better
One of the most common complaints of pregnant women is insomnia. However, it is important to rest as much as possible to feel good. And, of course, watch your diet and drink fluids.
7. When should you go to the emergency room
CDC recommends going to the emergency room if you are pregnant and have difficulty breathing, if you have pain or pressure in your chest or abdomen, if you experience sudden dizziness, feel confused, vomiting does not stop, or if you do not feel the movement of the baby.
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