Is it more dangerous to have the flu while pregnant? The short answer is yes. Your immune system is not as strong when you're pregnant, so you're more vulnerable to illness in general. Also, the flu can get serious very quickly during pregnancy and could be complicated by infections such as pneumonia.
Pregnant women with the flu also have a greater chance of serious problems developing for their unborn baby, including premature labor and delivery. Affinity Physicians for Women has some important information on symptoms, avoiding the flu and treatment if you do happen to contract the illness while pregnant.
“Of course, many moms-to-be who get the flu have no complications,” says Mendi Stone, NP with Affinity Physicians for Women. “But statistically, you're more likely to develop a severe case when you're pregnant.”
What symptoms should I watch for?
Flu typically starts with a fever, achiness, and fatigue, followed by cold symptoms, such as a runny or stuffy nose, sneezing, sore throat, cough, chills. You may have diarrhea or vomiting as well.
Get emergency medical help immediately if you notice any of these symptoms:
- Difficulty breathing, shortness of breath
- Bloody mucus
- Pain or pressure in your chest or abdomen
- Sudden dizziness, confusion
- Severe or persistent vomiting
- Not feeling as much movement from your baby
- A high fever that doesn't respond to acetaminophen
What should I do if I feel like I'm getting the flu?
If you get sick with flu-like symptoms, stay home, limit contact with others, and call your doctor. Your doctor will determine whether you need to go in for testing or treatment. Tests may include a nasal swab (best done in the first four days after you get sick). If you're home alone, have someone check on you often.
If you come into close contact with someone who has the flu, call your doctor to talk about whether treatment could reduce your chances of getting the flu. Keep in mind that people with the flu are contagious from the day before they have symptoms and remain contagious up to a week after they become ill. Please call our office if you start developing flu –like symptoms when you are pregnant!
Have more questions about our practice? Click here. Are you pregnant and would like to contact our office for more information or to make an appointment? Click here. We would love to hear from you – Affinity Physicians for Women is all about our patients and do all we can to make their lives more enjoyable and healthier on every level.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention