It is not known if the H1N1 virus will cause pregnant women to have a greater chance of getting sick or have serious problems or how the virus will affect babies. What is known is that pregnant women are more likely to get sick than others and tend to have more serious problems with seasonal flu. These problems may include early labor or severe pneumonia. No one is sure if H1N1 virus will have the same affects, but it should be taken very seriously.
The CDC has provided everyday steps to help prevent the spread of germs and protect your health:
- Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, or sneeze into your sleeve. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
- Wash your hands often with soap and warm water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based gel hand cleaners are also good to use.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
- Try to avoid close contact with sick people. (If you are pregnant and you live or have close contact with someone who has H1N1 flu, talk to your doctor about medicines to prevent flu.)
- Have a plan to care for sick family members.
- Stock up on household, health, and emergency supplies, such as water, Tylenol®, non-perishable foods.
What to do if you are breastfeeding:
- A mother’s milk is made to fight diseases in her baby. This is really important in young babies when their immune system is still growing.
- Do not stop breastfeeding if you are ill. Breastfeed early and often. Limit formula feeds if you can. This will help protect your baby from infection.
- Be careful not to cough or sneeze in the baby’s face, wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Your doctor might ask you to wear a mask to keep from spreading this new virus to your baby.
- If you are too sick to breastfeed, pump and have someone give the expressed milk to your baby.
If you would like to watch the video archive of the August 27th Webcast on what pregnant women and new mothers can do to prepare for the H1N1 flu, please visit http://www.flu.gov/news/knowwhattodo.html#082709.
You can also visit:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Pregnant Women and Novel Influenza A (H1N1)
Virus: Considerations for Clinicians. http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/clinician_pregnant.htm