Pregnant women with influenza are more likely to experience complications, but how this affects infants is unclear. A new Birth Defects Research study uncovers the potential risks to infants.

Influenza Synonyms Flu, the flu EM of influenza virus.jpg Influenza virus, magnified approximately 100,000 times Specialty Infectious disease Symptoms  Fever, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pains, headache, coughing, sneezing, feeling tired Usual onset Two days after exposure Duration 1 week Causes Influenza viruses Prevention Handwashing, surgical mask, influenza vaccine. 

Antiviral drugs

Medication Antiviral drugs such as oseltamivir Frequency 3–5 million per year Deaths 375,000 per year Influenza, commonly known as the flu, is an infectious disease caused by an influenza virus. Symptoms can be mild to severe. The most common symptoms include high fever, runny nose, sore throat, muscle pains, headache, coughing, sneezing, and feeling tired. These symptoms typically begin two days after exposure to the virus and most last less than a week.

A cough, however, may last for more than two weeks. In children, there may be diarrhea and vomiting, but these are not common in adults. The study included 490 pregnant women with influenza, 1451 women without disease with pregnancies in the same year, and 1446 pregnant women without disease with prior year pregnancies.

Women with 2009 H1N1 flu admitted to an intensive care unit were more likely to deliver preterm infants, low birth weight infants, and infants with low Apgar scores than women in the other groups.Women with influenza who were not hospitalized, as well as hospitalized women not admitted to the intensive care unit, did not have significantly elevated risks for adverse infant outcomes.

"The message of this work is particularly timely in the midst of the current influenza season. Our study found that severely ill women with 2009 H1N1 influenza during pregnancy were more likely to have adverse birth outcomes such as their baby being born preterm or of low birth weight than women without influenza," said senior author Dr. Sonja Rasmussen, of the University of Florida."These findings support the importance of pregnant women receiving the influenza vaccine and of prompt treatment with antiviral medications for pregnant women suspected of having influenza.