Pregnant? NSW Health is urging you to get your flu shot

NSW Health is reminding pregnant women about the importance of getting their influenza vaccination before the full force of winter hits.

Dr Vicky Sheppeard, Director of Communicable Diseases Branch at NSW Health, said influenza can be dangerous for pregnant women.

"Data from the National Centre for Immunisation Research and Surveillance (NCIRS), which is surveying new mums as part of the FluMum study, shows that the uptake of influenza vaccination has improved from about one in five pregnant women (23 per cent) in 2013 to almost one in three (32 per cent) in 2014," she said.

"However, that is only 32 per cent of pregnant women in NSW being vaccinated for the flu compared with about 70 per cent of people aged 65 years and older across the state.

Paul Corben, Director of Public Health for the Mid North Coast and Northern NSW Local Health Districts said, women in their second and third trimester of pregnancy in particular, are at greater risk of very severe illness which can put both mother and baby at risk.

"Pregnant women who get influenza are at greater risk of developing serious complications, such as pneumonia, which may result in their hospitalisation," Mr Corben said.

"The risk of premature labour and delivery is also increased in pregnant women with influenza.

"Influenza vaccines are not available for children less than six months of age so protection can only be achieved by vaccinating a mother during pregnancy.

"Children born to vaccinated mothers also have a reduced risk of contracting influenza in the first six months of life," Mr Corben said.

"The influenza vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy. It's safe and free for pregnant women so speak to your GP today."

For more information on protecting yourself from influenza during pregnancy please go to the NSW Health website.

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