If You Get The Flu During Pregnancy, This Is What Happens

Nobody enjoys getting the flu and dealing with symptoms like fever, body aches, headaches, and fatigue, but unfortunately, it happens to around 8% of Americans each year (via Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Most people recover from the flu within a few weeks, but it can be more severe for some people than for others. In some cases, it can even lead to hospitalization, per the CDC. While this can happen to anyone, certain groups are at especially high risk, such as children, people over the age of 65, and people with certain medical conditions.

Pregnant people are also particularly vulnerable to getting the flu and suffering flu-related complications because pregnancy makes it more difficult for a person's immune system to fight off infections. For this reason, the U.S. National Library of Medicine recommends the flu shot to anyone who is pregnant. When vaccinated, people are less likely to get the flu, and even if they do get it, they are much less likely to suffer complications. The CDC notes that with millions of doses given to pregnant people over the years, flu shots areĀ proven to be safe and effective during pregnancy.

What if you do get the flu during pregnancy?

If you get a mild case of the flu, the U.S. National Library of Medicine notes that it will likely not be harmful to your pregnancy. That being said, you are at a higher risk of severe complications than healthy, nonpregnant people your age, and if you develop a high fever or pneumonia, you are at a higher risk of premature labor.

When you first develop symptoms, there is no way to know if your case will be severe. In fact, severe flu cases often start off mild, so if you develop flu symptoms, the CDC recommends calling your doctor right away and asking about antiviral treatments. These treatments can make you feel better faster and prevent complications, but you should get a prescription and start the treatment early, as they are most effective within the first few days of symptoms.

The CDC recommends calling 911 if you develop concerning symptoms, which include (but are not limited to) shortness of breath, sudden dizziness, persistent pressure or pain in the chest or belly, high fever that doesn't improve with Tylenol, or decreased movement of your baby.