Flu During Pregnancy
Getting the flu during pregnancy is every mom-to-be's worst nightmare. Find out what risks the flu poses to you and baby and how to safely treat the flu while you're expecting. Plus, how to prevent getting it at all.
What is the flu during pregnancy?
Flu is short for influenza, a potentially serious respiratory illness. Some people think of the flu as a cold on steroids, and while that’s what it feels like, the flu is potentially deadly. In 2009, 75 pregnant women died from the H1N1 flu virus. Scary!
What are the signs of the flu?
Flu symptoms include fever, runny or stuffy nose, sore throat, cough, headache, fatigue and body aches. Some people get vomiting and diarrhea too. Unlike a cold, the flu often seems to hit suddenly. If you feel fine in the morning but are on the couch with a headache, fever, sore throat and nasal congestion by the evening, you may have the flu.
Are there any tests for the flu?
Yep. The flu is usually diagnosed based on your symptoms, especially if it’s going around in your inner circle. If your doc is unsure, you might get a nasal or back-of-throat swab to test for the flu.
How common is the flu during pregnancy?
In general, the flu is pretty common. On average, about 5 to 20 percent of the US population gets the flu each year.
How did I get the flu?
The flu is spread by direct contact and through the air. So shaking hands with someone who has it (and then rubbing your eyes or mouth) or being near them when they cough or sneeze could’ve caused you to catch it.
How will the flu affect my baby?
Pregnant women who come down with influenza and deliver during their influenza hospitalization are more likely than healthy women to deliver low-birth-weight babies. There’s also some evidence to show that influenza may be linked to preterm birth.
A high fever -- common during the flu -- may also affect your baby’s development if you’re still in the first trimester. You can use acetaminophen (Tylenol) to keep your temp under control (see Page 2 for treatments, prevention and more resources).