Topeka (WIBW) - Pregnancy causes a lot of changes in a woman's body, and doctors say some of those changes make flu season that much more dangerous.
Dr. John Evans of Stormont-Vail's Maternal and Fetal Medicine says that, as the uterus enlarges, it puts pressure on the diaphragm and women are not able to take as big a breath. They end up retaining fluid in the lungs, which creates an environment that promotes bacterial and viral growth.
Evans says women with asthma or immune problems are at even higher risk. He says the warnings are valid not just for H1N1, but all influenza and pnuemonia.
When mom's at risk, baby is, too.
Evans says women have a higher demand for energy when they're pregnant and anything that compromises that can impact the developing baby. Also, when mom is epxeriencing breathing problems, it can create less oxygenation of the blood, which could impact baby as well.
Evans suggests pregnant women lower their risk of contracting viruses by avoiding crowded areas like grocery stores or places with a lot of children, where a lot of germs might be spread.
He also recommends geting both the seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccinations. He says millions of doses of the H1N1 vaccine have been given with no reports of complications. A reminder, though, that pregnant women should get the shot, and not the nasal form of the vaccine.