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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. She’ll decide if you should take one of these antiviral drugs:

Osteltamivir is the preferred drug for pregnant women. It’s shown to be the safest and offer the most benefits.

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
  • Get suddenly dizzy or confused
  • Feel pain or pressure in your chest
  • Have severe or constant vomiting
  • Run a high fever
  • Notice less or no movement from your baby

Keeping Baby Safe

Newborns who get any flu are can have serious problems as a result. If you have the flu when you go into labor, hospital staff will take steps to protect your baby from getting it. They may tell 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 so someone who doesn’t have the flu can bottle-feed it to your baby.

Breastfeeding and Swine Flu

If you get the flu after your baby is born, let the doctor know. You may need to stop nursing until you start 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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