Fertility and pregnancy * Women's health

Swine flu and pregnancy

pregnancy and swine flu Information for pregnant mothers

Pregnant women who become infected with the H1N1 virus are at higher risk of developing complications, as welll as their baby. The risks are thought to be highest in the second and third trimester of pregnancy.

This advice has been put together from information provided by the Department of Health, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and the Royal College of Midwives.

There have been reports both in the UK and abroad of severe illness in pregnant women and infants. Most of these have been in women with other underlying health conditions. However, because of what's known from previous flu pandemics and reports from other countries on the current swine flu outbreak have resulted in pregnant women being included in the high risk group.

What does this mean?

Practically it means that if you are pregnant and are diagnosed with swine flu or suspected swine flu, you will be given antiviral drugs immediately.

In the first instance Relenza rather than Tamiflu will usually be provided. This is because Relenza is inhaled, and mainly reaches the throat and lungs, with minimal amounts going to the blood or placenta. This has the advantage of not affecting the pregnancy or the foetus. However, in severe cases Tamiflu may be given.

If you think you have swine flu

If you are pregnant and are experiencing swine flu symptoms, then you should call your GP or NHS Direct for advice.

If you are diagnosed with swine flu

You will be given an authorization which a friend or carer can use to obtain your antiviral medicines.

Treatment of swine flu in pregnant woman

The most important issue for pregnancy is managing high temperatures. If this happens, you should take paracetamol, which is known to be safe in pregnancy. Ibuprofen should be avoided. Consult your doctor or midwife for detailed information with regards to your particular situation. Avoid too many over the counter medicines as you may take too much paracetamol in this case.

In no circumstances should you consider obtaining medicines from any other source, such as the Internet, as these may not be safe.

Breastfeeding and swine flu

If you are breastfeeding and have swine flu you will be given Tamiflu as there is no longer poses a risk to the foetus. There is no need to stop breastfeeding if you are taking either Tamiflu or Relenza. However, please always check the latest information before taking action.

TheFamilyGP guide to swine flu

Action plan

For tips on how to be prepared for swine flu, and important contact numbers and sources of information.

Swine flu background

Risk groups

Progress of the disease

This article was published on Fri 17 July 2009

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