Flu Complications for Pregnant Women

NORTHWEST ARKANSAS -- Catching the flu is quite concerning, but for pregnant women complications can worsen at a rapid rate. Preparing to deliver a baby is an exciting time for new moms, but getting the flu can quickly turn things around. Just a couple years ago Mercy obstetrics and family practice doctor Nicole Scally lost a pregnant patient to the virus.

Dr. Scally said, "in 2009 I had a patient who died from the flu. I think it drives home the reality that people die from the flu every single year and it's a preventable disease, or at least a controllable disease. Pregnant women and young people tend to get more sick from the flu than the average person."

Scally said the effects of the virus hit hard with expecting mothers and flu symptoms for mom can be severe, but they are just as bad for the baby. "If she had an extremely high fever, that internal body temperature could actually affect the baby. If she had respiratory collapse or respiratory difficulty related to the flu then its her lack of oxygen that then effects the baby."

Dr. Scally says flu shots are safe for pregnant women. She recommends getting one or talking to your doctor about medications to combat symptoms. "It is strongly recommended that they do. The potential consequences of the flu are significantly worse that the potential harms of taking the medication like Tamiflu."

For new moms, frequent doctor visits are a must. She says to steer clear of sneezes and sniffles in the waiting room.

Scally said, "if you know you are going to a place where there is lots of sick people like in a doctor's office, you might want to just segregate yourself and sit away from the crowd."

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