During pregnancy, women are more vulnerable to colds and flu. As the winter chill sets in, expectant moms are encouraged to get a flu vaccine as soon as possible. While viruses can be contracted year-round, colder weather can contribute to a rise in their spread.
“A woman’s immune system is generally weaker during pregnancy and flu can quickly be complicated by bacterial infections like pneumonia. This can lead to complications such as premature labour, which is risky for both mom and baby,” says Dr Howard Manyonga, an obstetrician and Head of The Birthing Team, a maternity programme that focusses on proactive prenatal care.
The best way to prevent flu is to get a vaccine early on in pregnancy; this provides moderate to high protection from the most common viral strains. “The latest flu vaccine is included in The Birthing Team’s programme, as a guard against complications that risk mother and baby health – we see it as necessary prenatal prevention,” says Manyonga.
Women who are pregnant should also be aware of the symptoms of flu, which include fever, aches, fatigue and cold symptoms like sneezing and a sore throat. “If a woman experiences difficulty breathing, pain in their chest, dizziness, vomiting or a high fever – they should speak to their medical team immediately,” says Manyonga.
As for preventing contracting any form of flu or cold, he recommends that women wash their hands frequently, drink plenty of water and get plenty of rest. “Beyond a vaccine, it is important to look after your health during the growth and development of your baby – allowing yourself to get run down is risky,” says Manyonga.
The programme offered by The Birthing Team is designed to incentivise quality prenatal care by charging a set fee that covers all necessary scans, tests and medications from 12 weeks of pregnancy to six weeks after delivery. Most patients do not have medical aid, and pay around R20 999 for the complete programme, inclusive of delivery in a private hospital. It is currently operational at the Netcare Rand Clinic in Johannesburg, the Femina Hospital in Pretoria and JMH City Hospital in Durban.
Distributed by Be-cause Integrated Communications
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Distributed on behalf of The Birthing Team
Head of The Birthing Team: Dr Howard Manyonga