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Pregnant Women and the Flu

Seven things you need to know about the flu.

Pregnant women, even ones who are healthy, can have medical complications from the seasonal flu.

Visit any Marshfield Clinic Health System primary care location during regular business hours for your flu shot.

Protect yourself and your baby by getting the flu shot. The tips and resources below will help you learn about steps to take to protect yourself and others from flu. Visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information. 

1. Get vaccinated.

The single best way to prevent flu is to get vaccinated each year, but good health habits like covering your cough and washing your hands often can help stop the spread of germs and prevent respiratory illnesses like the flu.

2. Avoid close contact.

Avoid close contact with people who are sick. When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

3. Stay home when you are sick.

If possible, stay home from work, school and errands when you are sick. This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.

4. Cover your mouth and nose.

Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. It may prevent those around you from getting sick. 

5. Clean your hands.

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

6. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.

Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

7. Practice other good health habits.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids and eat nutritious food.

Early Treatment is Important for Pregnant Women

  • Treatment should begin as soon as possible because antiviral drugs work best when started early (within 48 hours after symptoms start).
  • Antiviral drugs can make your flu illness milder and make you feel better faster. They may also prevent serious health problems that can result from flu illness.
  • Oral oseltamivir is the preferred treatment for pregnant women because it has the most studies available to suggest that it is safe and beneficial.
  • Antiviral drugs require a prescription from your doctor.
  • Having a fever caused by flu infection or other infections early in pregnancy may be linked to birth defects in a baby. In addition to taking antiviral drugs, pregnant women who get a fever should treat their fever with Tylenol® (or store brand equivalent) and contact their doctor immediately.

When to Seek Emergency Medical Care

If you are pregnant and have any of these signs, call 911 right away:

  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
  • Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Severe or persistent vomiting
  • High fever that is not responding to Tylenol® (or store brand equivalent)
  • Decreased or no movement of your baby
Request Appointment

Contact us for care

If this is a medical emergency, call 911.

Call: 1-866-520-2510

(Monday-Friday, 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.)