Swine flu, also known as the H1N1 virus, is something that many people are concerned about. However, pregnant women have even more reason to worry as any illness can be potentially harmful to their unborn child and because they are unable to use some medication as it can be transferred to the baby. However, treatment is still important.
Fever should be treated immediately in pregnancy because the increased body temperature cycle can be distressing for the mother and the baby. Paracetamol is the safest drug for use in pregnancy. During the infection, the fluid intake needs to be increased. Drinking plenty of fluids is important in all cases, but especially for pregnant women. Possibly, treatment with antiviral drugs may be needed to alleviate the symptoms and shorten the course of the illness, the decision is one which the treating physician will make so it is important that he or she is aware of the pregnancy.
The beginning of the treatment should ideally be done immediately after the onset of the symptoms if possible within the first 48 hours. So far there is no evidence that speaks against a treatment with antiviral agents during pregnancy, but there are also only limited information. The risk of medication must be weighed against the risk presented by the disease.
The symptoms of swine flu in pregnancy correspond with the conventional flu symptom and can include:
Muscle and joint pain
Sometimes diarrhea and vomiting
Since it is necessary to make the diagnosis as fast as possible, a pregnant woman with these symptoms should immediately contact a doctor for diagnosis and treatment advice. There are also some symptoms for which immediate medical advice should be sought including:
Pain or pressure in chest
Severe or persistent vomiting
Decreased fetal movement
Signs of premature labour
High fever which is unresponsive to paracetamol