Confusion over swine flu advice for mums-to-be

Pregnant women and those trying to conceive worried as experts offer conflicting advice

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The Government has clarified its advice to mums-to-be and those trying for a baby, after the Department of Health appeared to change its mind over the weekend.

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Initially, the Department of Health (DoH) advised women to delay trying to conceive until the swine flu pandemic was over, advice which was then repeated by the National Childbirth Trust (NCT) over the weekend.

However, the DoH  changed its advice on Sunday – saying it was no longer telling mums to wait before trying to get pregnant. It seems the original advice was based on predictions of a pandemic of a more serious infection – bird flu – and that the current swine flu situation doesn’t require such drastic action.

A DoH statement said, “We advise everybody to plan their pregnancy carefully – we are not advising women not to conceive. Mums-to-be are more vulnerable to any type of flu. It is particularly important that anyone who has existing health problems and is thinking about starting a family should talk to their GP first, as they normally would.”

There was also confusion about whether pregnant mums were being officially advised to stay at home and avoid going out to public places, especially those that were crowded.

This morning, the DoH advice is that mums-to-be should not be over-worried about going out and about in public, but it may be best to avoid anywhere that gets crowded and also to avoid travelling if it’s not necessary.

The DoH denied that this advice was confusing.

“There isn’t conflicting advice,” said Health Secretary Andy Burnham on Radio 4’s Today programme this morning. “The advice has been clear all along that women who are pregnant should take extra precautions as they would anyway. They should follow the advice about hand hygiene and should consider avoiding crowded places. This is the advice we have given out all the way.”

“Life goes on and people at particular risk will consider whether they want to take extra care and that’s the right thing,” he added.

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Are you still feeling confused? Check out the latest updated advice on swine flu for all the family.

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