HEALTH chiefs are urging pregnant women to continue using NHS services during the Covid crisis to protect themselves and their unborn baby.
According to clinical commissioning groups across Hampshire one of the most important things a mum-to-be can do is get vaccinated against the flu.
Having a flu jab at any stage of pregnancy safeguards women and also gives newborn babies vital protection in the first few months of their lives.
Hampshire GP Dr Nicola Decker said: “I encourage all pregnant women to get their flu vaccine. During pregnancy a woman’s immune system is naturally weakened as it works hard to protect both mum and baby.
“Getting flu during pregnancy can increase the risk of miscarriage, having a baby born too soon or born with a low birth weight.
“By having your free flu vaccination, either during an appointment with your midwife or at your GP practice reduces this risk.
“It also provides protection for your baby once they are born. It’s safe to have at any stage in your pregnancy and we would encourage you to take up the offer.”
Pregnant women are also being urged to attend all their routine maternity appointments.
Dr Jo Mountfield, a Hampshire consultant obstetrician, said: “There’s no evidence that pregnant women are more likely to contract coronavirus than other people and for many woman, especially if they are fit and well with no underlying risk factors they are unlikely to be seriously unwell.
“That said we understand this may be a concerning time and you will have many questions about how coronavirus could affect you, your baby and your pregnancy care.
“It’s important to know you’ll still have regular appointments and scans while you’re pregnant. But there may be some changes to how the service works, taking into account the extra precautions we have in hospitals to keep everyone safe.
“Keep talking with your midwife about your concerns, as you normally would, and follow the national guidance around washing your hands, wearing face coverings and maintaining social distancing.
“Please also take up the offer of a flu vaccination.
“This is safe for you and your baby and can reduce the chances of you contracting flu, which can potentially be more serious in pregnancy.”
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