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Vaccinations encouraged in pregnant women

Mothers to-be should be encouraged to have the flu-jab warns Public Health England (PHE) following a report looking into maternity care.  

Saving Lives, Improving Mothers' Care: Lessons learned to inform future maternity care from the 2009-2012report, led by Oxford University looked at the mortality rates of pregnant women between 2009-2012.

It found that one in 11 of the 321 women who died in pregnancy had flu.

It is believed that 50% of these deaths could have been prevented by vaccination.

Currently only 25% of pregnant women opt to be vaccinated against flu.

Leader of the enquiry Professor Marian Knight said:

"Indirect deaths are the biggest area where we need to see some action. I cannot overemphasise the importance of flu vaccinations during pregnancy."

Mary Ramsay, head of immunisation for PHE, agreed.

She said: “Getting flu during pregnancy can lead to an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth or having a low weight baby.

“Having the vaccination reduces the chances of getting flu, which in turn means the risk of these complications is significantly reduced.

“We know that mothers want to do all they can to protect their babies and it's not too late for pregnant women to get vaccinated.”

Despite this, the reports findings do show a decrease in the number of women dying from childbirth related issues. The majority of deaths that took place did so as a result of previous medical condition.

Director for Midwifery Louise Silverton at the Royal College of Midwives welcomes the report but believes that stronger communication between healthcare professionals is needed.

She said “We remain concerned about the high level of deaths amongst women with pre-existing medical conditions, such as a cardiac or neurological conditions.

“We also need more midwives and maternity support workers to deal with the increasing complexity of pregnancy and better teamwork with doctors to provide seamless maternity care.”