Pregnancy puts extra demands on a woman's body. A pregnant woman's heart and lungs are working harder than usual to supply blood and oxygen to her baby. This makes pregnant women more prone to flu complications. Pregnant women are 4 times as likely as non-pregnant women to be hospitalized for flu complications. In fact, pregnant women are just as likely to have flu complications as people with chronic medical conditions. Women who were recently pregnant (within the last 6 weeks) are also at risk of flu complications.

If you will be pregnant during flu season (early winter to early spring ), there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk of complications:

  • Take steps to prevent the flu. Your doctor may recommend that you have a flu shot. Having a flu shot during pregnancy can help protect your baby once it is born by reducing the risk that you will get influenza and pass it on to the baby. Breast-feeding mothers may also pass on their antibodies to their babies in their breast milk.
  • If you have flu symptoms, see your doctor as soon as possible (find the flu clinic nearest to you). Use the doctor discussion guide to help you prepare for your visit.
  • If you are diagnosed with the flu, follow your doctor's instructions for flu treatment.