Delay pregnancy to avoid flu risk: Ministry

10:15, December 31, 2009      

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A pregnant woman gets the A(H1N1) vaccine in Qingdao, Shandong Province Wednesday. Some 14 percent of the reported A(H1N1) deaths in China involved pregnant women. Photo: CFP

Women were advised to delay getting pregnant until after the A(H1N1) flu risk drops, the Ministry of Health said on its website.

Pregnant women and new mothers face a higher risk of infection. Those who already developed diseases including chronic respiratory disease, angiocarpy diseases and women deemed overweight, are more likely to become much ill faster.

Bian Xuming, director of the maternity department at Peking Union Medical College Hospital, said that pregnant women have low immunity to the virus as their organs are under strain.

"Once they catch the flu, the illness will spread rapidly and they will be in more danger. That's why prevention is very important," Bian said.

The targeted women are asked to avoid people with flu symptoms and huge crowds such as in supermarkets.

They were also advised to keep their offices and apartments ventilated and to wear masks outside. The authority encouraged women to visit a hospital as soon as possible if they develop flu-like symptoms and inform their families and tell them to wear masks.

All pregnant women and new mothers are part of the nation's inoculation plan. They are entitled to free vaccination, Deng Haihua, the ministry's spokesperson, told the media earlier this month.

But pregnant women with complications and those with a history of miscarriages are advised to consult obstetricians before getting the shot.

Pregnant women made up nearly 14 percent of the total number of reported deaths from the A(H1N1) flu on the mainland, according to statistics issued by the ministry early this month.

Source: Global Times/Xinhua
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