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hey

im 6wks 4 days pregnant and my parents keep mentioning that pregnant women are being advised to have the flu jab? can anyone give advise on this? is it safe?

thanks
emmielou
 

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It is important to note that flu is a serious illness, and not just a heavy cold; it can be very nasty.

If you are in any high risk group such as asthma or any other medical problems then you should have the flu vaccine immediately regardless of the stage of pregnancy.

Pregnant women are considered to be high risk if they contract influenza generally as when you are pregnant your immune system is suppressed and there are changes to the circulation and work of breathing in later pregnancy that make it dangerous if you do have serious respiratory illness.

The department of health is recommending that pregnant women are immunised. The data sheets for the flu vaccine this year are saying use from the 2nd trimester.

However, the swine flu (strain H1N1) is making a come back in the last week or so. We are entering into the second and potentially more serious wave as predicted.

I work in intensive care and we have seen the first cases coming in this week. Swine flu is particularly dangerous because the last time such a virus strain was circulating is before our parents were born, so there is no background immunity. It is a very nasty virus that causes a severe viral pneumonitis - or severe inflammation of the lungs making gas exchange almost impossible in at risk individuals.

We had pregnant ladies in ICU last year that were very dangerously ill with very low oxygen levels putting their life and the baby's life at risk.

The influenza vaccine is safe and has been given to pregnant women for years with few noted problems.

Here is the official leaflet from the DOH.

http://www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/@dh/@en/@ps/documents/digitalasset/dh_119314.pdf

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