Pregnant women and their unborn children are particularly vulnerable to many common infections. While these infections may not normally impact the general population, they are exceptionally dangerous for expectant mothers and can cause serious health problems. There are several steps you can take to prevent prenatal infections in both yourself and your baby. Here is a compendium of critical tips from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
Ask any doctor and they’ll tell you… One of the most important parts of their job is to answer patients’ questions accurately and thoroughly. By providing this education, we can develop a stronger patient-provider relationship and empower women to make the most informed health decisions possible. Answering reproductive questions daily in our Connecticut office, we think it’s helpful to share the most common questions about women’s health, specifically those concerning female reproduction, as well as our answers.
Annual flu shots are an easily-accessible and preventative measure for almost everyone. The flu is much more than simply a bad cold. Although both the common cold and the flu may cause upper respiratory symptoms, influenza can be serious and even fatal. As reported by CBS News, around 80,000 Americans died from the flu and related complications during the winter of 2017/2018. The flu leaves patients open to other life-threatening infections like pneumonia. It is especially crucial that high-risk groups be vaccinated against the flu every year. These groups include the elderly, young children, and pregnant women.
Please listen to this important announcement about the risks and prevention of the Swine Flu H1N1 Virus for pregnant women.
Because pregnant women with influenza are at higher than average risk of complications from influenza, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) has recommended prompt treatment for pregnant women with influenza-like symptoms. The CDC recommends that doctors and patients should not wait for definitive lab reports before starting antiviral medications because the best response to antiviral medications is seen when treatment is initiated early in the course of the illness. Pregnant women who have been exposed to the H1N1 influenza strain by a family member or other close contact should also be treated promptly even if they do not have any symptoms- this is called chemoprophylaxis.
Pregnant women should see their obstetrician promptly or go to the emergency room if respiratory illness is experienced. The symptoms of influenza include cough, sore throat, rhinorrhea, fever, body aches, headache, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhea. To prevent influenza remember to get your yearly influenza vaccine, avoid people with known respiratory illnesses, wash your hands regularly and cover your cough.
For more detailed information, see the CDC webpage on pregnant women with H1N1 influenza.