According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), pregnant women are part of the high-risk group for contracting influenza. This is most likely due to their suppressed immune system from accommodating the fetus. Furthermore, they are also 7.2 times more likely to be hospitalized as catching influenza increases their risk of complications such as stillbirth, neonatal death, premature delivery, as well as severe disease and death. It was recently discovered that this could be due to the overeager response of their immune system. Although a supercharged immunity system may be seen as something good, however too much of a good thing can turn destructive, especially for these pregnant women.
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Therefore, instead of suffering through influenza and its possible complications, why not keep you and your fetus healthy and avoid catching influenza? Here are some tips for you!
1. Getting The Flu Jab
Yes, it is safe! There is a negligible risk of maternal, fetal or infant complications after vaccinations. Compared to the consequences of catching influenza, this is a better recourse. Women can get the jab at any stage of their pregnancy but it is highly recommended during their second and third trimester where serious complications from influenza are known to occur.
The vaccine, made up of inactivated (killed) virus, will help the immune system to produce antibodies to fight the infection. It will also help your fetus inherit these antibodies as well, which will protect them until they are six months old - the eligible age to receive the influenza vaccine on their own.
2. Healthy Diet: 5-A-Day
The biggest no-no to your diet is sugar as it further suppresses the immune system and increases the risk of gestational diabetes. Avoid it as much as you possibly can.
On the contrary, plenty of fruits and vegetables should be consumed throughout pregnancy. It is an excellent source of nutrients that provides folic acid, calcium, potassium, vitamin C and E, etc., which supports pregnancy and reduces the baby’s risk of diseases, developing future allergies and other health issues.
Eat at least 5 portions per day for a healthy pregnancy diet.
3. Rest & Relax
It is probably hard to sleep with a constant need to pee and the lack of a comfortable position because of your pregnant belly. Even so, it is important to get enough rest to boost your immune system.
Reduce the intake of fluids two to four hours before bedtime and empty your bladder fully by leaning forward while you pee to reduce constant trips to the toilet at night. Get comfortable by wedging pillows between legs and at your back as well as sleeping on the left.
Additionally, exercising reduces aches and pains and would help with better rest and relaxation post-workout.
4. Avoid Crowds
Thinking about baby shopping during the Great Singapore Sale? Imagine the amount of influenza viruses that are floating in the air! There is an increased risk of contracting influenza when people who have influenza are amongst those in the crowd whom you might have come into contact with. Stay home and away from crowded places to minimize unnecessary contact with others who may have influenza.
With the following tips, influenza will not be knocking on your door any time soon! Enjoy a happy and safe pregnancy free of influenza!
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