Joanne Birtwhistle, Midwifery Sister, The Portland Hospital
Q. I am currently 20 weeks pregnant. Is it safe for me to have the flu jab?
A. It is recommended that all pregnant women at any stage in their pregnancy should have the flu jab. During pregnancy, women are more susceptible to coughs, colds and flu, this is because your immune system is suppressed. If you catch the flu, you may show symptoms of tiredness, headache, runny nose, sore throat, cough, loss of appetite, aches, diarrhoea or vomiting. It has however been reported that pregnant women could be at an increase risk of developing further complications like raised temperature, dehydration, pneumonia or chest infections with breathing difficulties. For all these reasons, it is important to take the correct precautions to protect against the flu virus. If you are suffering from any of these symptoms, speak to a midwife or doctor. To help boost your immune system, maintain a healthy diet with plenty of fruit and vegetables, and keep yourself hydrated. It is also important to rest, to recover well. To reduce the risk of catching the flu in pregnancy, it is advised that you try to avoid confined spaces that are overcrowded and any unnecessary travel. If you are considering having the flu vaccination, your local GP or pharmacist will be able to provide further advice.