Protecting your unborn baby this winter
Fri 06th February 2015
NHS England is urging pregnant women across North Tyneside to protect themselves and their unborn child against flu with a free vaccination.
Getting vaccinated against flu is the best way to protect you and your baby from the virus, and make sure you stay flu safe all winter. If you’re pregnant the flu jab is quick, safe and completely free – just ask your midwife or GP and make an appointment.
During pregnancy a woman’s immune system is naturally lower to ensure that the pregnancy is successful. As a result, pregnant women are less able to fight off infections and therefore more likely to be seriously ill if they contract the flu virus.
Flu can cause many complications during pregnancy, particularly in the later stages, for example premature births or low birth weights, and may even lead to stillbirth or death in the first week of life.
The flu vaccine can be used safely at any stage in pregnancy, from the first few weeks through to the woman’s due date. Women who have had the flu vaccine while pregnant also pass some protection on to their babies, which lasts for the first few months of their lives.
The vaccine also poses no risk to women who are breastfeeding, or to their babies.
Dr Mike Prentice, Medical Director, for Cumbria, Northumberland, Tyne and Wear for NHS England, said:
“Getting flu during pregnancy can lead to an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth or having a low weight baby. Having the vaccination reduces the chances of getting flu which in turn means the risk of these complications is much reduced.
“Once vaccinated, your baby will also benefit directly because the vaccine you have been given will also protect them in the first few weeks of life after birth when they are too young to have a vaccination themselves.”
To get your flu vaccination, contact your midwife or GP. You only have until 31 March 2015. To find out more about the flu in pregnancy visit: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/Pages/flu-jab-vaccine-pregnant.aspx