Mums-to-be are being urged by health leaders at Erewash Clinical Commissioning Group to book a free flu jab to protect themselves and their unborn babies this winter.
The immune system is naturally lower during pregnancy, so should expectant mothers catch the flu it can become serious very quickly.
Flu can cause many complications during pregnancy, particularly in the later stages, such as premature births or low birth weights. In some cases it can lead to stillbirth or death in the first week of life.
A review into maternal deaths in 2014 showed that nearly one in ten deaths of new mothers is caused by flu. More than half of these could have been prevented by the flu vaccination.
Dr Avi Bhatia, GP chairman at Erewash CCG said: “I would urge anyone who is pregnant to get the flu vaccination as soon as possible. During pregnancy a woman’s immune system is naturally lower to ensure that the pregnancy is successful. As a result, pregnant women are less able to fight off infections and therefore more likely to be seriously ill if they contract the flu virus.
“The flu vaccination is the best protection against flu. It’s safe during any stage in pregnancy, from the first few weeks through to the woman’s due date and doesn’t carry any risks for mother or baby. Women who have had the flu vaccine while pregnant also pass some protection on to their babies, which lasts for the first few months of their lives.”
For more information visit www.nhs.uk/staywell