Published on Dec 13, 2016
Winter can be challenging, especially for older people and those who are not otherwise fit and well.
However, did you know that pregnant women (and their babies) can also be at greater risk of becoming poorly during the winter?
Getting flu can cause serious complications for women and their babies and all pregnant women should have the flu vaccine to protect themselves and their unborn child.
One of the most important steps for pregnant women is to protect against flu by having the flu jab.
The flu vaccine can be given safely at any stage of pregnancy, from conception onwards. The jab is free for pregnant women from their GP or pharmacist. Those over 65, children aged 2-4 and in school years 1 and 2 and people with long-term health conditions can also receive this vital protection free. You can also get a free flu jab if you get a carer’s allowance or are the main carer for an elderly, or disable person whose welfare may be at risk if you fall ill.
Pregnant women benefit from the flu vaccine because it will:
- Reduce the risk of serious complications such as pneumonia, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy
- Help protect their baby, who will continue to have some immunity to flu during the first few months of his or her life
- Reduce the chance of the mother passing the infection to her new baby
- Reduce the risk of miscarriage or having a baby born too soon or with a low birthweight
If you are pregnant and have flu symptoms, you should talk to your doctor urgently. If you do have flu, there is a prescribed medicine that might help or reduce the risk of complications, but it needs to be taken as soon as possible after the symptoms appear.
The flu jab is the safest way to help protect you and your baby. It's free because you need it, however many months pregnant you are, and however fit and healthy you might feel. You don't need to visit your GP, if you're pregnant, you can pop into one of many North East Lincolnshire pharmacies for a free jab. You can see a list of pharmacies here.
Finally, keep yourself warm. Your home should be at least 18C (65F). You may be eligible for financial schemes and discounts to help you pay for heating. See Keep Warm, Keep Well for details.