How to Prevent Swine Flu during Pregnancy

Jun 18, 2009
Swine Flu is particularly dangerous for pregnant women, who face greater risk of complications. With the H1N1 swine flu elevated to pandemic level, pregnant women need to take measures to prevent swine flu.

Expectant mothers should be especially careful during flu pandemics, since the flu can cause serious complications, such as premature delivery or the risk of miscarriage. Unfortunately, no vaccine against swine flu is available now, but you can take measures to prevent swine flu.

Tips to prevent swine flu infection during pregnancy:

  • Wash your hands frequently. Use warm water and soap to clean your hands thoroughly after coughing and sneezing. After soaping, rinse your hands with water. In case, you have no possibility to wash your hands, use disposable wipes and alcohol-based gel sanitizers.

  • Cover your mouth and nose. If you are coughing or sneezing, it is better to cover your nose and mouth with a disposable tissue. Throw away the tissue after use to avoid contamination. If you do not have a disposable tissue, cover your mouth or nose with your sleeve. Keep in mind that when you cover your mouth and nose with your hands, they can become contaminated with the virus and you can spread it to others.

  • Avoid crowded places. It is better to avoid using public transport or visiting places with lots of people, like schools or churches to lower the risk of catching swine flu. If you are working during pregnancy, make sure to follow general hygiene rules, as mentioned above. Wear a protective mask if you want to protect yourself from swine flu.

  • Stay away from people with flu symptoms. It is a good idea to limit any contacts with anyone, who is coughing or sneezing or has other flu symptoms. Avoid shaking hands and kissing with other people. If someone from your family members has flu symptoms, make sure to contact your health care provider for advice.

  • Do not touch your nose or mouth with hands. Remember that viruses can live up to two hours on surfaces, like doorknobs, telephones, dishes if a person with swine flu has touched it. To avoid the infection, wash your hands immediately after toughing the surfaces of the items.

Treatment of swine flu during pregnancy

Nowadays, experts say that such antiviral drugs as oseltamivir (Tamiflu) and zanamivir (Relenza) are relatively safe medicines for pregnant and breastfeeding women. Since pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to swine flu and face higher risk of complications from swine flu, the benefits of these drugs may outweigh the possible risks. Though, specialists need more data about the safety, none of these medicines were associated with negative impact on the growth and development of the fetus.  It is still recommended that you do not take the antiviral drugs before you contact your doctor for advice.