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What are the Risks of Getting the Swine Flu While Pregnant?

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  • Written By: Autumn Rivers
  • Edited By: Andrew Jones
  • Last Modified Date: 17 September 2016
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Pregnant women are typically urged to get the flu shot when pregnant since they are more likely to catch swine flu than the general population due to their immune system being compromised. In addition to this, pregnant women are more likely to experience complications that land them in the hospital, sometimes even ending in the death of themselves or their baby. Complications include pneumonia, miscarriage, or preterm labor. Therefore, catching swine flu while pregnant is typically considered dangerous for both the mother and the unborn baby.

It is important to counter the increased risk of catching swine flu while pregnant, typically starting with getting the vaccination. While waiting for this to take effect, it is helpful for pregnant women to wash their hands frequently, particularly after sneezing and before eating. Hand sanitizer should be used if soap and water are not readily available, and all surfaces at home that are frequently touched should be wiped down with disinfectant. It is also important to avoid touching the eyes, mouth, and nose, since the virus can easily be transferred from the hands to these areas.

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Distinguishing between the regular flu and swine flu can be tricky, as the symptoms are typically the same. They include a cough, sore throat, fever, runny nose, congestion, headache, chills, and body aches. Additionally, some people experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In general, those with swine flu notice coughing, a fever, and a sore throat, so those who are not experiencing these symptoms together likely have the regular flu, instead. Women who think they have the swine flu while pregnant should try to rest at home, and then call their doctor to determine whether they should be tested for it.

There are some particularly serious symptoms that may develop in a woman who has swine flu while pregnant. They include difficulty breathing, chest or stomach pain, constant vomiting, a high grade fever, bloody phlegm, blue skin tone, and reduction in movement of the unborn baby. Emergency treatment is usually advised if these extreme symptoms appear, as they can lead to more severe complications like pneumonia. Additionally, getting swine flu while pregnant can put the baby in distress, sometimes resulting in miscarriage during early pregnancy, or preterm labor toward the middle or end. If the baby is not yet developed enough to live outside the womb, there is a high chance of serious damage or even death.

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