Pregnant women can reduce their risk of miscarriage, premature birth, low birth weight and stillbirth by taking up the offer of vital protection against flu from next month.
Ten midwives at Hull Women and Children’s Hospital have received specialist training to administer the flu vaccine to women attending antenatal appointments, admitted to the wards for monitoring or visiting the HEY Baby Carousel event on the last Wednesday of the month.
With around 5,500 babies born in Hull every year, pregnant women are particularly susceptible to flu which can cause miscarriage in the early stage or stillbirth in the later stages of pregnancy.
Healthy lifestyle midwife Caroline Clark said: “Pregnant women are more susceptible to flu because their immune systems are more suppressed in pregnancy and it can make them really ill.
“But still, most people don’t realise how serious flu can be if a woman catches it during her pregnancy.
“Studies have found links between flu and miscarriage in the early stages or early labour, resulting in premature births. There are also possible links to stillbirth.
“It’s just not worth the risk and we’ve made it as easy as possible for women to get vaccinated when they’re coming to hospital anyway, without the hassle of making a separate appointment.”
Women who already received the flu vaccine earlier this year at the start of their pregnancies will require a second vaccination from September to protect them and their babies against the most current strain.
Caroline Clark said: “Different vaccines are produced every year to protect us from different strains of the flu virus so those in the early stages of pregnancy who receive a flu jab in March will need a second one now in the later stages of their pregnancies.”
Midwives can also give women the vaccine to protect them and their babies from whooping cough, also known as pertussis, from the 20-week scan.
Women will still be able to receive the flu vaccine in the community from pharmacies or from their GP.