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Coping With the Flu During Pregnancy

Coping With the Flu During Pregnancy I hate being sick. It’s cold and flu season and it’s the time of year when so many people are miserable and dealing with all the symptoms; ranging from fever to headache and, of course, the terribly stuffed nose.

I am so glad that I am not pregnant during this season and I’m dodging the flu with all my might. While it’s still miserable and potentially dangerous to get the flu at anytime, according to the Center for Disease Control, the flu is more likely to cause severe illness in pregnant women than in women who are not pregnant. It’s all thanks to the changes in the immune system when you’re pregnant and the stress on your heart and lungs. It can have serious effects on the unborn baby, too.

Keeping that in mind, it’s especially important to protect yourself from the flu when you’re pregnant — both prevention and proactive treatment. It’s recommended by the Center for Disease Control that all women who are pregnant get the flu shot each year. It helps protect you from the potential worst of the flu and can also protect your baby when they’re born.

Take a look at some interesting things I’ve learned about the dangers of having the flu while you’re pregnant, how to prevent having to deal with the flu while pregnant, and how to cope if you catch it: 

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  • Dangers of Flu During Pregnancy 1 of 18
    Dangers of Flu During Pregnancy
    When you're pregnant, your body is under a lot more stress than usual which makes the flu that much more dangerous.
  • May be an Autism Link 2 of 18
    May be an Autism Link
    According to a study that was published in November of 2012, aving the flu during pregnancy was linked to a twofold increase in a woman's chance of having a child diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder before the age of 3.
    Source: WebMD | Flu During Pregnancy May Be Linked to Autism.
    Photo credit: photostock.
  • Preterm Labor and Preterm Birth Risk 3 of 18
    Preterm Labor and Preterm Birth Risk
    According to March of Dimes, having the flu during pregnancy puts you at an increased risk of going into preterm labor or experiencing preterm birth (before 37 weeks gestation).
    Source: March of Dimes.
    Photo credit: photostock.
  • Fever Can Lead to Birth Defects 4 of 18
    Fever Can Lead to Birth Defects
    In early pregnancy, high fevers for an extended time can lead to birth defects in the baby. Since the flu usually brings high fevers that last a while, it's important to keep an eye on it.
    Source: Flu.gov |U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
    Photo credit: photostock.
  • Can Lead to Hospitalization or Death 5 of 18
    Can Lead to Hospitalization or Death
    Your body is under a lot of work and stress while pregnant -- the heart and lungs and immune system especially. Adding more stress from the flu puts you at an increased risk of hospitalization due to complications like pneumonia.
    Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    Photo credit: photostock.
  • How to Cope with the Flu 6 of 18
    How to Cope with the Flu
    If you caught the flu while you're pregnant, there are some ways that you can help prevent any serious complications and keep yourself comfortable, which is important too.
  • Get a Lot of Rest 7 of 18
    Get a Lot of Rest
    Sleep and sleep and then more sleep will help your body rest to fight off the virus. Make sure you take things easier and listening to your body is important.
    Source: What to Expect
    Photo credit: photostock.
  • Drink Lots of Water 8 of 18
    Drink Lots of Water
    If you're running a high fever, dehydration can certainly happen. Drinking water and making sure you're well hydrated will ward off any dehydration-related complications and will keep your energy up.
    Source: What to Expect
    Photo credit: photostock.
  • Take Your Prenatal Vitamins 9 of 18
    Take Your Prenatal Vitamins
    Prenatal vitamins are important during pregnancy and especially when you're sick. With the flu, your appetite may go down making the vitamins even more important.
    Source: What to Expect
    Photo credit: photostock.
  • Use a Humidifier or Hot Shower 10 of 18
    Use a Humidifier or Hot Shower
    Using a humidifier or sitting in a bathroom with hot water steam can help clear up your lungs and nose, giving temporary relief.
    Source: Flu.gov |U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
    Photo credit: photostock.
  • Gargle Salt Water 11 of 18
    Gargle Salt Water
    If you're battling a cough or sore throat, gargling salt water is a great way to soothe and treat your throat.
    Source: Flu.gov |U.S. Department of Health & Human Services
    Photo credit: photostock.
  • Get a Flu Shot and/or Prescription 12 of 18
    Get a Flu Shot and/or Prescription
    The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that every pregnant woman receive the flu shot (as long as there are no contradictions).
    Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
    Photo credit:
    photostock.
  • How to Prevent Getting the Flu 13 of 18
    How to Prevent Getting the Flu
    Being proactive during flu season can help keep you healthy and ward off the complications that can come with being pregnant with the flu.
  • Stay Home if You’re Sick 14 of 18
    Stay Home if You're Sick
    Over-extending yourself and being around sick people is not the smartest move when you're pregnant.
    Source: March of Dimes.
    Photo credit: photostock.
  • Wash Hands with Water and Soap 15 of 18
    Wash Hands with Water and Soap
    Washing your hands often in warm water and soap can kill off the germs that you come into contact with from just everyday living.
    Source: March of Dimes.
    Photo credit: photostock.
  • Sneeze into Tissue or Elbow 16 of 18
    Sneeze into Tissue or Elbow
    Remind people to sneeze into a tissue or their elbow if they don't have one. Sneezing into your hand will just spread the virus all over and put many at risk.
    Source: What to Expect
    Photo credit: photostock.
  • Keep Hands Away from Eyes, Nose and Mouth 17 of 18
    Keep Hands Away from Eyes, Nose and Mouth
    Your hands come into contact with a lot of stuff during the day. Keep your hands away from the virus entry points like your eyes, nose and mouth.
    Source: March of Dimes.
    Photo credit: photostock.
  • Sanitize and Clean 18 of 18
    Sanitize and Clean
    During flu season, it's important to sanitize and clean the most-used things like door knobs and kid toys -- especially if you're just getting over the flu.
    Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    Photo credit: photostock.

(It’s important to discuss your own personal symptoms, health history and situation with the health care provider following you during pregnancy)

Photo credit: adapted from iStockPhoto

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