Why Is Swine Flu Dangerous During Pregnancy?

Swine Flu

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Pregnant women have it tough. They do not just have to worry about their health but also that of their unborn baby. Things like eating right can go a long way in keeping you and your pregnancy safe. But, unfortunately, you cannot control everything.

Something as minor as a virus can be devastating during pregnancy. Flu, especially Swine Flu in pregnancy, is something you should guard against. Like other forms of flu, a virus – the H1N1 virus, causes swine flu.

Has the recent outbreak of swine flu around the world left you worried? Then you need to know more about this particular flu type and how it can impact your pregnancy.

Why Is Swine Flu In Pregnancy Considered Dangerous?

Pregnancy is a risk factor when it comes to swine flu. Though experts are still not sure why the H1N1 virus is so brutal on pregnant women, they do have some ideas. Most agree that that the extra stress on a woman’s respiratory system during pregnancy can make H1N1 virus deadly. It can increase the risk of pneumonia as most flu virus tend to attack the respiratory system first (1). The fact that most maternal deaths due to swine flu occur during the final trimester gives credence to this theory (2).

Another factor that can make pregnant women more likely to fall victim to this virus is their weakened immune system (3).

Symptoms Of Swine Flu During Pregnancy:

Swine flu symptoms are very similar to ordinary flu symptoms. If you think you have the flu and notice the following symptoms, it can be swine flu:

  • Fever
  • Tiredness
  • Cough
  • Headache
  • Body pain
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Though most of these symptoms may just indicate a common cold or flu, it makes sense to discuss them with your doctor. Most cases of swine flu involve high fever. If you have common flu, your fever is unlikely to go over 39 degrees C. But in case of swine flu, your fever can shoot up beyond this threshold.

[ Read: Symptoms Of Diarrhea During Pregnancy ]

Can Swine Flu Spread From Mother to Her Unborn Child?

For all mothers, the health of their babies is of primary concern. So it is no wonder that most women want to know if they can spread the virus to their unborn baby.

Unfortunately, the answer is yes. It is possible for the H1N1 virus to infect the placenta and affect your growing baby. Swine flu also increases the risk of premature labor and delivery, as well as miscarriage (4).

Another risk factor associated with swine flu is high fever. High fever during the first trimester can increase the chances of neural tube defects in your baby (5).

How Is Swine Flu While Pregnant Treated?

Most pregnant women with swine flu go on to make a complete recovery, even without medical intervention. But if you suspect that you have swine flu, do consult your doctor. It is important to keep an eye on your symptoms to prevent any complications. If your doctor deems it necessary, he will prescribe antiviral medication to combat the deadly HiN1 virus. Medications like Relenza and Tamiflu are completely safe during pregnancy and can treat swine flu effectively.

If you are worried about the impact of these medications on your baby, relax. Apart from some minor side effects, Tamiflu is safe for your unborn baby (6).

[ Read: Tamiflu During Pregnancy ]

Apart from medication, you can also try some home remedies to beat the virus. If you are experiencing flu-like symptoms, try to:

1. Stay Hydrated:

You should drink more fluids than you usually drink if you are pregnant. And if you have the flu, you need to amp up your fluid intake even more!

2. Rest:

Your immune system is weak right now. So rest as much as you can to give your immune system a chance to fight the virus.

Can Swine Flu Be Prevented?

Yes! You can keep swine flu far away with some easy steps. One of the best things you can do is take a swine flu vaccine in pregnancy, especially if the H1N1 virus is making its presence felt in your city.

Apart from vaccination, these simple tips can go a long way in preventing swine flu:

  • Avoid crowded places
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Use a facemask if you need to

Reading about the ever-increasing cases of swine flu can send anybody into panic mode. But relax! With a little care, you can prevent swine flu easily. And if you do end up getting it, with timely medical intervention, you can beat the virus without much fuss.

Do you know anybody who got swine flu during pregnancy? Tell us about it.


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