Medics backing vital flu vaccine

Pregnant women like Rachel Conaghan are being encouraged to protect themselves this winter
Pregnant women like Rachel Conaghan are being encouraged to protect themselves this winter

Mums-to-be are being urged to get their flu vaccine to protect themselves and their unborn babies.

The Royal College of Midwives is among those making the call after statistics revealed only half of those pregnant in Forth Valley received their vaccine last winter.

Pregnant women are being urged to get vaccinated against flu

Pregnant women are being urged to get vaccinated against flu

Research also shows that flu was the cause of death among one in 11 UK women who died during, or shortly after, pregnancy between 2009 and 2012.

Pregnant women who contract flu are also five times more likely to have a stillborn baby, or for the baby to die in the first week following birth.

Mary Ross-Davie, director of the Royal College of Midwives Scotland, said: “Flu is a really serious illness – it is not just a bad cold.

“It can have a serious impact on those expecting a baby, which is why we’re encouraging expectant mothers to get the vaccine.

“If you have been pregnant before, remember that a healthy and flu-free pregnancy last time is no guarantee that you won’t catch flu this time.

“The flu vaccine is free, it’s safe to have at any time during pregnancy, and it only takes a few minutes.

“To ensure you’re protected this winter, I’d encourage you to make booking your GP vaccination appointment a priority.”

Dr Henry A. Prempeh, NHS Forth Valley public health consultant, said: “It’s so important that pregnant women across Scotland get the flu vaccine this year as they are at greater risk of flu related complications.

“The vaccine is safe for pregnant women and their baby at any stage of pregnancy and also helps protect them both from what can be a serious virus.

“We are urging all pregnant women across Forth Valley to make an appointment with their GP practice; it will help protect you for up to a year and also your baby for at least three months after birth.”

Visit www.immunisationscotland.org.uk/flu or phone NHS Inform on 0800 22 44 88 for further information.