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Cold and Flu Center

What to Do If Sick With Flu While Pregnant?

author image Sumei FitzGerald
Sumei FitzGerald has been writing professionally since 2008 on health, nutrition, medicine and science topics. She has published work on doctors' websites such as Colon Cancer Resource, psychology sites such as Webpsykologen and environmental websites such as Supergreenme. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in sociology from the University of Connecticut where she also studied life sciences.
What to Do If Sick With Flu While Pregnant?
A pregnant woman is feeling sick. Photo Credit: evgenyatamanenko/iStock/Getty Images

Influenza -- commonly called the flu, often causes fever, fatigue, headache and respiratory symptoms. In severe cases, this condition may even lead to death. The flu can be more dangerous for pregnant women and may even affect the fetus. To reduce your risk of pregnancy-related complications, see your doctor for specific instructions if you suspect you have the flu.

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Pregnant women have a greater risk of experiencing flu-related complications. Your immune system is somewhat depressed when you're pregnant so that it doesn't react to or reject your growing baby. In your second and third trimesters, you encounter added stress on your heart and lungs, which can also affect your immune system. Pregnant women are more likely to suffer from severe illness when they get the flu because their immune systems are more sensitive. If you get sick with flu while pregnant, you may experience premature labor and premature delivery.

Flu Symptoms

Symptoms of the flu include body aches and chills, fatigue and fever, coughing, runny nose and a sore throat. Some people experience diarrhea and vomiting as well. If you suspect you have the flu while pregnant, contact your doctor immediately. Stay at home, rest and drink plenty of fluids. Treat your fever with acetaminophen. You may not want to eat much. Try nibbling on snacks and drinking broth even if you don't feel like eating. Nutrients will help you combat the flu.

Serious Symptoms

Bacterial infections like pneumonia can develop in pregnant women that get the flu. Get emergency medical treatment if you experience difficulty breathing, confusion or sudden dizziness. Decreasing fetal movement and a high fever that doesn’t respond to acetaminophen are also cause for alarm. Get to the hospital if you experience pain or pressure in your abdomen or chest or persistent and severe vomiting.

Safe Medications

Get a flu shot if you’re pregnant. A flu shot will protect both you and your infant from contracting the flu. If you're allergic to eggs, you may not be able to get a flu shot, however it is safe for most pregnant women. Pregnant women should not use the nasal spray version of the flu vaccine. Your doctor can give you antiviral medications if you get the flu or if you’ve been exposed to someone with the flu.

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