Flu pandemic: Pregnant and breastfeeding women

Pregnant and breastfeeding women have an elevated risk of complications. This means they’re particularly vulnerable and should protect themselves from infection, ideally by being vaccinated. 

Everyday precautions

Normally you should be able to continue as usual, going to work and attending events or celebrations. But it’s better to avoid large gatherings. Be careful: wash your hands more frequently and always have hand disinfectant with you.

Elevated risk of complications

Pregnant women don’t get infected with pandemic flu any more easily than the rest of the population. But if they do get infected with the virus they have a higher risk of complications (pneumonia or severe breathing problems), especially in the second or third term of pregnancy or after the birth of their child. These complications can put the health of both the woman and child at risk. In the worst case they can lead to premature birth or miscarriage. It’s therefore important for pregnant women to take precautions against the pandemic virus. Vaccination is the most reliable means of protection.

If you have flu symptoms

Given that pregnant women have an elevated risk of complications, if you have flu symptoms you should consult your family doctor or gynaecologist quickly. Ask for an emergency appointment if the symptoms get worse.
If you have an infant, follow the hygiene rules and wear a mask to reduce the risk of infecting your child.
A temperature of 38°C or higher counts as a fever. You can take take drugs for this, for example paracetamol (paracetamol, for example Dafalgan®, is preferable to aspirin). If the symptoms persist, consult your doctor. Don’t take any other medication without consulting your gynaecologist first.
Some strong fever-reducing drugs are contraindicated during pregnancy.

Is there a flu drug for pregnant women?

Yes, Switzerland has an antiviral drug for flu (Tamiflu®). If can also be taken by pregnant and breastfeeding women. To have an optimum effect the drug must be taken within 48 hours of the first symptoms’ appearing. It’s therefore important to consult a doctor quickly when there are signs you’re getting the flu.

Breastfeeding during a flu pandemic

You can breastfeed your child even if you have the flu yourself. Antiviral drugs (Tamiflu®) are not contraindicated during breastfeeding. Children who are breastfed are less prone to infection overall. So breastfeeding is recommended.


Swiss Influenza Pandemic Plan PDF

Swiss Influenza Pandemic Plan 2018

Strategies and measures to prepare for an influenza pandemic in Switzerland

Last modification 22.04.2020

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