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Swine Flu Vaccines in Pregnancy

Now that the swine flu vaccine is being delivered to GPs' surgeries, pregnant women will be among the first to get the jab

Posted: 26 October 2009
by Sarah Lawson

After the dip in new cases of swine flu in the summer, the pandemic does unfortunately continue to take hold in the UK now that we are into the season most commonly associated with colds and flu. Much of the advice still stands from when we first reported about swine flu in pregnancy in the spring, but as pregnant women are amongst those groups of people at higher risk from suffering complications, any woman who is or thinks she might be pregnant is advised to keep in touch with current advice. There is a dedicated Swine Flu Pandemic website if you have any queries or concerns now that the NHS has widened its facilities for advice and treatment of people coming to them worried about or showing symptoms of swine flu.

The Department for Health also has information on its website that is useful for the whole family to read, but it is of particular interest to those groups currently deemed to be most 'at risk', which include children under five years of age, and women in the late stages of pregnancy. To read this advice, go to

Swine flu risk in pregnancy
In pregnancy, like the rest of the population, if you do contract swine flu you will most likely only experience the mild symptoms and be laid low for a few days. However, the risk is with any case, that more serious complications can develop.
During pregnancy your immune system is slightly supressed (so that you do not have an excessive immune reaction to the baby you are carrying), however the main danger is not that you are more likely to catch swine flu than another person, but that you might get more ill than someone else would. That does not automatically mean you would get dangerous complications but that you might experience a heavier dose of the flu's symptoms than another person of your age might. This seems to be especially true in the second and third trimesters.
If someone you have been in close contact with already has swine flu, talk to your doctor, who might prescribe a preventative medicine for you.

Do I have to have the swine flu vaccine?
No vaccine is compulsory, but do be reassured that studies have shown the vaccine has no negative effect on the mother or unborn child. This was confirmed at the beginning of October 2009 which is why pregnant women have now been added to the vaccination programme list. But if you're feeling unsure, check out our swine flu jab lowdown to give you all the facts.
In the meantime, if your surgery does not yet know you are pregnant, make sure you get in touch with them and have a confirmation test as soon as possible so that you are on any list for special care that may be required.

I'm pregnant and I think I've got swine flu, what now?
The symptoms of swine flu are usually similar to those of regular human seasonal flu: fever and a cough, tiredness, headache, aching muscles, runny nose, sore throat, nausea or diarrhoea.
Pregnant women who are diagosed with swine flu can be given an antiviral drug called Relenza. This is taken through an inhaler rather than a tablet which means it builds up in your throat and lungs rather than in your blood, therefore it should not affect your baby because the fetus is nourished via your blood and the placenta.
NOTE: Relenza, and another swine flu medication called Tamiflu, are safe to take if you are breastfeeding.
If you do think you have swine flu or it is confirmed, do not mix with other people to avoid further spread, but ask your partner or a friend to help get you medication and any food shopping you need.
In most cases the patient recovers within a week.
For dedicated advice, go to

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Discuss this story

Hi Ladies/Gents 

I have decided against this vaccination. I have really been reading up about this over the weekend and personally i feel that there has not been enough research done into the jab. I am lucky i dont have asthma or any other illness and i think even if i did i would still choose not to have the jab. I have 2 sons who had it back in July and i was lucky enough to have not caught it then so fingercrossed. 

Does anyone think they have a real good justified reason for thinking the jab has been tested correctly??? Because i wouldnt be wanting to make the wrong decision.

I have even spoke to a proffessional who for obvious reasons cant say it's not been tested properly but they didnt want to reccomend it. 

I'm not asking because i want to worry anyone it just seems difficult to get a straight answer and i'm worried about making the wrong choice.

Ashleigh 31 + 6  xxxx

Posted: 26/10/2009 at 15:51

I wonder too if it really is safe. How can they know for sure if it is or not? I don't trust what anyone tells me about it. I'm in good health normally and don't feel the need for this. I wouldn't want to risk anything harming the baby.  Louise 20 + 2

Posted: 26/10/2009 at 16:42

I've decided against this. I just dont feel confident in the unknown side affects as its not been tested on pregnant ladies. I dont know if there is any side affects/long term affects on babies and because of this i'd rather give it a miss.

Posted: 26/10/2009 at 19:24

Hi All Im now 35+5 & i feel the same i question if this is going to be safe. How have they been able to test it so quickly?

I have had swine full during pregnancy & it was not nice at all i was 31 weeks! i couldnt move! luckly baby & I are fine!

Also same as Louise i would not want to have anything that could harm my baby!


Posted: 27/10/2009 at 10:04

I'm glad I'm not the only one feeling like this. I was starting to think i was being slightly paranoid

I certainly don't want to do anything that is going to harm my baby. So that's why i have choose not to have it. I called the doctor to see if i could have the normal flu jab but pregnant women are not aloud the jab. That then made me ask how can we then be offered the swine flu jab (after reading lots of pages on the internet) when they have almost the same contents apart from a couple of differences. That when the line went quiet! Even my doctors surgery dont want to reccomend.

Think we just have to be more careful than normal.

Amy looks like you have lived to tell the tale so i'm sure as long as if we think we have any symptoms we contact the doctor everything should be OK.

Take Care xx

Posted: 27/10/2009 at 13:44

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