Influenza Virus in Pregnancy

Influenza is a viral infection that affects the respiratory tract. It is especially risky in pregnant women and increases the risk of premature delivery, abortion, and stillbirth. (1) Pregnant women are also at an increased risk of complications from the virus. These complications include pneumonia followed by ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome) requiring hospitalization and mechanical ventilation. (2) Compared with the general population, these women have an increased risk of morbidity and mortality.

It is recommended that women who are pregnant or plan on becoming pregnant during the influenza season get vaccinated. Aside from the yearly influenza vaccine, it is also recommended for women to receive the H1N1 vaccine as well.

If a pregnant women is exposed to someone with Influenza and has not been vaccinated, it is recommended that they take prophylactic medication. For more information please call the infant risk center.

References:

1. Canfield R. Infectious Pregnancy Complications. In: Canfield R, ed. New York: Nova Biomedical Books; 2009:111-138.

2. Jamieson DJ, Honein MA, Rasmussen SA, et al. H1N1 2009 influenza virus infection during pregnancy in the USA. Lancet. Aug 8 2009;374(9688):451-458.

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