Like all mums-to-be, I have worried about the health of my baby during this pregnancy, and my last, so I understand it can be difficult to know what health precautions are the right ones to take, especially when so much information is being offered to you.
As a junior doctor you'd think I would be aware how important it is to have a flu vaccination during pregnancy as it helps to protect you and your baby from the complications of flu, but I actually wasn't, especially during my first pregnancy. Although it's strongly recommended by the NHS and they offer it for free to pregnant women, I was really surprised to hear that 56% of mums-to-be didn't have the vaccination last year.
That's why I'm encouraging other expectant mums to have their free NHS flu vaccination this year. I want to reassure them that it is a safe precaution at any stage of pregnancy, that is recommended by the government as it helps you develop immunity to the virus and some of this protection is also passed onto your unborn baby.
There's also nothing worse than feeling under the weather while you're pregnant, especially when you're advised not to take certain medicines that would normally help you feel better, and being out of action just isn't an option when you've got little ones running around. Knowing that I've helped protect myself from catching flu gives me one less thing to worry about.
Pregnant women can get their free NHS flu vaccination from GPs and pharmacies like Boots across England and Wales - over 1900 Boots pharmacies offer the NHS service from September to February. This is great for busy mums as it gives them more choice and opportunities to get their vaccination at a time and place that's convenient for them. An appointment only takes around 15 minutes - I've just had mine and I've been right as rain ever since, I was really pleasantly surprised how easy it is to go and get it done.
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