Swine Flu in Pregnancy Leads Some to ICU

THURSDAY, March 18 (HealthDay News) — Pregnant women with the H1N1 (swine) flu were 13 times more likely to become critically ill than non-pregnant women infected with H1N1, according to a report from researchers in Australia and New Zealand.

In the study, published online March 19 in BMJ, the investigators found that 11 percent of mothers and 12 percent of the babies died, but the authors noted that it is difficult to draw conclusions because there were few pregnant women infected with H1N1 to study.

The researchers, led by Dr. Ian Seppelt from the Australian and New Zealand Intensive Care Influenza Investigators, looked at the medical records of pregnant women and women who had given birth within the previous four weeks who had contracted H1N1 and were hospitalized in the intensive care unit (ICU) between June and August 2009.

Of 64 women included in the study, those who were more than 20 weeks pregnant faced a 13-fold higher risk of ending up in an ICU compared to women with H1N1 flu who weren’t pregnant.

None of the women had been immunized against seasonal flu despite recommendations that moms-to-be get vaccinated, the study authors pointed out.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on H1N1 (swine) flu and pregnancy.