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Specialist midwife urges mothers-to-be to have the flu jab to help protect themselves and their babies this winter

A specialist midwife is urging pregnant women to help protect themselves and their babies this winter by having the flu jab.

Whether you have recently conceived, are midway through your pregnancy or nearing your due date, Katharine Franks, specialist midwife, Antenatal and Newborn Screening cross-site lead for Frimley Health Foundation Trust, is encouraging mothers-to-be to have their flu vaccination.

Ms Franks said: “Pregnancy naturally weakens the body’s immune system and as a result, can increase the risk of a mother and unborn baby becoming seriously ill from flu.

“It is therefore recommended that all pregnant women have the flu vaccine not only to protect themselves but also their baby.

She added: “Studies have shown it is safe to have the vaccine at any stage of pregnancy and women who have the vaccine pass on some protection to their baby which will last for the first few months its of life.”

“We are pleased to be able to offer the vaccine to pregnant women attending the antenatal clinic or scan appointments at Wexham Park or Frimley Park Hospital sites and are working hard to expand this service to our Community Midwifery Hubs. Mothers-to-be can also contact their GP to arrange their flu vaccine or visit their nearby pharmacy.”

Strains of the flu virus change every year, and for that reason it is important to have the vaccine each year. Even if someone thinks they have had the flu already, they should still have the vaccine. There is more than one type of flu virus and it is important to reduce the risk as much as possible.

Flu can make otherwise healthy people feel very poorly for up to a fortnight. The symptoms, that come on very quickly, include fever, chills, headaches, aches and pains in the joints and muscles, and extreme tiredness.

Pregnant women benefit from the flu vaccine because it will: reduce their risk of serious complications such as pneumonia, particularly in the later stages of pregnancy; reduce the risk of miscarriage or having a baby born too soon or with a low birth weight; help protect their baby who will continue to have some immunity to flu during the first few months of its life; and reduce the chance of the mother passing infection to her new baby.

The vaccine is free for pregnant women and is available from their maternity service provider; their GP or local pharmacy.

For more, click here.

Frimley Health and Care