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HindustanTimes Wed,16 Apr 2014

Pregnant women more prone to swine flu: Docs

Himabindu Reddy, Hindustan Times  Gurgaon, February 11, 2013
First Published: 01:39 IST(11/2/2013) | Last Updated: 01:40 IST(11/2/2013)

Pregnant women are more prone to be infected with swine flu and they should not take even the common cold or fever casually in this season, experts have advised.

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Expecting mothers must be extra careful as the deadly fever can lead to a host of complications such as still birth, abortion, pre-mature delivery, death of foetus in the womb, and increased risk of mortality in mother and child.

In the last fortnight, a healthcare unit in Gurgaon - The Cradle - had treated two pregnant women for swine flu.

"One was 33-week pregnant and the other 36-week. The women were aged between 25 and 35 years," said Dr Sanjay Wazir, head of the neonatology department of The Cradle. The patients were not too severe and have been discharged.  

"Pregnant women face higher risk of contracting swine flu because their immunity levels are low. Thereby, the risk of mortality is also high as compared with a normal patient," said Dr Geeta Baruah, senior gynecologist at Artemis Health Sciences.

Explaining the reason, Dr Baruah said, during pregnancy, women undergo severe physiological changes that trigger changes in their digestive, respiratory, cardiovascular and metabolic system too. In such situation, risk of complications is high.

"We have been getting many such cases wherein, pregnant women come with cold, fever, etc. But we make sure precautionary measures are taken. Risk of death is higher in the third trimester of pregnancy, i.e. the last few weeks," Baruah said.

Doctors, who have been witnessing an increase in the number of pregnant women complaining of flu-like symptoms, attribute the trend to the change in weather.

Wazir said, "Common cold, fever and influenza come along with seasonal changes. But it should not be neglected. High fever is a typical symptom of swine flu. Expecting mothers should see a doctor and get admitted in this case."

Experts have also advised that popping pills of Paracetamol to supress fever is not the way out. It can cause more complications.

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