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Swine Flu and Pregnancy

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When to See Your Doctor

If you think you may have the flu, call your doctor as soon as possible. Your doctor will decide if you should take one of these antiviral drugs:

Osteltamivir is the preferred antiviral in pregnancy with the most studied safety and benefit. These medicines may help you prevent serious problems.

You can take these drugs anytime during your pregnancy. If you care for or live with someone who has the flu, your doctor may also advise you to take an antiviral drug up to 2 weeks after your baby is born.

When to Get Emergency Care

Get medical care right away if you:

  • Have shortness of breath or trouble breathing
  • Feel suddenly dizzy or confused
  • Have pain or pressure in your chest
  • Have severe or constant vomiting
  • Have a high fever
  • Feel less or no movement from your baby

Keeping Baby Safe

Newborns who get any flu are at higher risk for serious problems. If you have the flu when you go into labor, hospital staff will take steps to protect your baby from getting it. They may advise you to wear a surgical mask during labor and delivery.

You'll probably need to avoid close contact with your newborn -- including nursing and sleeping in the same room -- until you've taken an antiviral drug for 48 hours and your symptoms improve. During this time, you can pump breast milk, and a person who is healthy can bottle-feed it to your baby.

Breastfeeding and Swine Flu

If you get the flu after your baby is born, let your baby’s doctor know. You may need to stop nursing until you have begun treatment.

Breast milk has antibodies that can help your baby fight off the virus. You can take flu drugs while you are breastfeeding.

Protect your infant by washing your hands before touching him. Wear a mask when you breastfeed. Don't cough or sneeze into your elbow, where you cradle your baby's head while nursing.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson, MD on May 11, 2015
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