Key messages and advice
- Pregnant women and their babies are at increased risk for severe influenza and complications.
- Influenza vaccination during pregnancy should be routine - the safety and benefits of influenza vaccination during pregnancy are well established.
- Pregnant women and new mothers should be encouraged to seek help early if influenza-like symptoms develop - early treatment with anti-influenza medications may prevent serious complications.
- Pregnant women and new mothers should be encouraged to practice good respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene and keep themselves and their babies away from others who are sick, particularly those with a coughing illness.
See the NSW Health Slide presentation for health professionals highlighting the research and guidance underpinning advice regarding the risk of influenza during pregnancy and the safety and benefits of influenza vaccination.
See the NSW Health Influenza and pregnancy - guidance for clinicians fact sheet for specific guidance for health professionals and health facilities on managing pregnant women presenting with suspected or confirmed influenza infections, including considerations in the management of influenza in each trimester, around the time of birth and in the post-natal period.
See the NSW Health Maternal influenza vaccination - evidence review for further information on the safety and efficacy of influenza vaccination during pregnancy, and the research supporting the role influenza vaccination during pregnancy has to protect pregnant women from influenza and its complications in pregnancy, and to protect newborns against influenza during the critical early months of life.
Follow the link to Order posters and brochures on influenza and vaccination for pregnant women.
See the Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists (RANZCOG) site for links to a range of resources for health professionals and women. This includes the updated RANZCOG statement Influenza Vaccination for Pregnant Women (C-Obs 45) (found in the College Statements & Guidelines section).
The Australian Immunisation Handbook (10th Edition, 2013)
See the Influenza vaccine recommendations for pregnant women . These include the following statement:
"Pregnant women (and women planning pregnancy) are recommended to be immunised against influenza because they are at increased risk of morbidity and mortality from influenza and because there is good evidence that influenza immunisation in pregnancy is safe and effective. The risk to the mother of complications from influenza increases in the later stages of pregnancy. There is also a growing body of evidence showing that influenza vaccination of pregnant women protects infants against influenza for the first 6 months after birth..."
US CDC: Responding to Influenza - A Toolkit for Prenatal Care Providers (2011) *
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (US-CDC) have developed a resource package to provide basic information and communication resources to help antenatal care providers respond to the threat of influenza for their pregnant patients. [see the US-CDC website]
* Please note that the CDC Toolkit was developed for use in the USA. Some of the material and recommendations may not be appropriate for NSW. For example, the toolkit makes reference to some types of influenza vaccines which are not currently available in Australia.