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Pregnant women are up to four times more likely to be seriously ill and require hospitalisation when they have swine flu than the general population, new research from the United States suggests.

(24 Posts)
dikkertjedap Wed 29-Jul-09 16:42:05

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/health/Swine_flu/article6731659.ece

shock

llareggub Wed 29-Jul-09 16:44:13

Why post this? Will pg women not be worrying enough?

70% of people won't get SF. Pretty good odds I'd say.

AbricotsSecs Wed 29-Jul-09 16:47:13

Message withdrawn

muffle Wed 29-Jul-09 16:47:40

Four times more likely is still a low risk, though. There are hundreds of thousands of people with/who have had swine flu in the UK now and still only a few hundred who needed hospitalisation. So that means it's still likely that a) you won't get it and b) it won't be serious, even if you are pregnant. It does mean pg women should try to be careful to avoid it of course, but we knew that.

kathyis6incheshigh Wed 29-Jul-09 16:50:55

I'm glad to have this info even though I don't particularly like it - it really annoys me when they say things like 'pregnant women are higher risk' with absolutely no quantification whatsoever.
The odds are still not bad but at least this helps us to make rational decisions about treatment.

dikkertjedap Wed 29-Jul-09 16:52:52

I posted it because it stresses the importance to act early and get tamiflu early. I don't want to scare people, but I also strongly believe that people should have access to information and that you should not withold information which might be relevant because it might upset them. Sorry, if it upset you though. sad

whomovedmychocolate Wed 29-Jul-09 17:01:59

Yes, yes, if you are pregnant, young, have cancer, have had surgery, if you have a respiratory disease, if you are grossly obese - all known risks.

But this isn't what this is about - what this story should be is: WHO recommends that hospitals change admission and treatment protocol for pregnant women and stop treating us like nits who can't handle basic facts. angry

It's like this - there is a matrix for hospital admission and treatment for swine flu - you can look it up. Certain groups have predetermined risk factors, these are added to symptoms and a decision is made as to whether you need hospital treatment.

If for example I am 35 and I have difficulty eating but no other risk factors, I'm unlikely to be admitted (that's one score btw on the matrix). However, if I am six months old with that same one symptom - whole different ballgame.

Just ticks me off when the media makes a big ho-har about what should actually just be factual publication of medical advice.

whomovedmychocolate Wed 29-Jul-09 17:03:42

Oh and dikkertjedap - (there's got to be a story behind that username) - I wasn't having a go at you, if I was pregnant, I'd want to know when the info changes

Tamiflu probably won't be much help soon though with the way we are handing it out left, right and centre

dikkertjedap Wed 29-Jul-09 17:09:58

Sorry I shouldn't have said tamiflu in the post before, because the article talks about anti-virals and I believe pregnant women are prescribed relenza and not tamiflu.

whomovedmychocolate Wed 29-Jul-09 17:12:24

Same crap, different route wink

lucky1979 Wed 29-Jul-09 17:20:12

I posted this on the guardian website - it has some assumptions in it so not exact (plus I'm not a statistician and did my numbers on a scrappy bit of paper in the midst of the work I'm actually supposed to be doing), but the statistical risk of actually dying from swine flu, based on the Lancet report is as follows:

A figure that has been around in the past (not sure how accurate it will be now) is that 0.35% of cases of swine flu are classed as serious. So, as a pregnant lady, if your chances of complications (hospitalisation) are 4 times as likely, your chances of developing complications are 1.4% or just over 1 in 100. Not really bad odds in and of themselves, however you have to catch it first. Take the figure, as projected in the worst case scenario, that 30% of people in the country will catch the virus, and assume also (as there is no evidence to the contrary that I have seen) that pregnant women are no more susceptible to catching the virus than any other member of the population. Therefore 30 in 100 pregnant women will get swine flu. 1.4% of these 30 women will develop complications – meaning that 0.42% of pregnant women will get swine flu AND develop complications. Or, 99.58% of pregnant women in the UK will, at worse, suffer for a few days then be absolutely fine. Even of the 0.42% who have developed complications, assuming the death rate of 6 in 34 serious cases holds true based on the sample from Minnesota , thats a 17.6% death rate. So the chances that you will die from swine flu in the worst case scenario of 30% infection, if you are a pregnant lady, is 0.07%.

The chance that you won't die from swine flu if you're pregnant during the worst case scenario pandemic is 99.93%, which will be even higher if you have no underlying health issues as that is not accounted as I don't have the numbers to include that.

The chances that you won't die if you are pregnant AND you catch it is 99.75%

These are pretty good odds really, so don't panic!

ilovemydogandmrobama Wed 29-Jul-09 17:20:21

What's scary is once Swine Flu is suspected, suddenly there is general disinterest in one's symptoms.

DS was admitted to Children's Hospital a couple of days ago, was put on a drip and was in isolation. Fortunately, one of the A & E doc was familiar with DS history, and did a full set of blood tests, and he was swabbed.

But the next day, the other doc said, 'oh, that's because of swine flu...' and 'well, that's what we are seeing with swine flu...'

Which would be fine, except that he didn't have swine flu and was negative.

Good thing I have his Paediatrician on speed dial grin

SpawnChorus Wed 29-Jul-09 17:23:37

Good post lucky1979. I was just going over the figures and trying to work out the odds of death/serious complication. My brain was starting to dribble out of my ears, so thanks for sparing me!

kathyis6incheshigh Wed 29-Jul-09 17:25:15

The NHS are saying that pregnant women are more likely to catch it - is that not based on evidence then?

lucky1979 Wed 29-Jul-09 17:37:16

Not evidence that is demonstrated with the Lancet article, which is the one that this particular article is referencing.

The two big assumptions in my figures are:

Pregnant woman are no more likely to get swine flu than others. All of the statistics have been based around the likelihood of suffering complications once you've got it, not the actual getting of it. If you do have an article where there is a number though that would be ace, can you pass it on? (I'm 6 months pregnant so have more than a passing interest )

Assumption number two is that the figures used in The Lancet article are based on women who were otherwise healthy and didn't have any underlying health issues. Both pregnant women who have died have had these underlying health conditions and that would massively skew the figures the other way if that is the case.

Not sure which one would skew the figures more so am banking on them cancelling each other out :D

corblimeymadam Wed 29-Jul-09 17:43:15

Message withdrawn

beautifulgirls Wed 29-Jul-09 20:44:01

No-one forced you to open the thread Belgianbun

laurawantsababy Wed 29-Jul-09 20:54:33

I am gutted that they have reported this. I was just thinking to myself that they hype had calmed down and they go and worry me again.

I am 14 weeks pg and have a 1yo dd. I will be full term in the middle of winter and am very worried.

I see that they want pg women to have the jabs first - Has it been tested on pg women??

Ps I dont think theres anything wrong in posting it, its all over the bloody news anyway.

corblimeymadam Wed 29-Jul-09 21:26:42

Message withdrawn

dikkertjedap Wed 29-Jul-09 22:12:31

Belgianbun - I am sorry if this post has upset you. Of course I understand that you are very worried about swine flu, so am I (being severe asthmatic) and having a three year old child. I deal with my concerns by trying to keep myself as informed as possible. Clearly, others might deal with concerns by not wanting to hear all the news, I fully appreciate that. Anyway, hope the rest of your pregnancy goes well and that all of this blows over for all our sakes.

PortAndLemon Wed 29-Jul-09 22:25:20

belgianbun -- have you considered hiding the whole Swine Flu topic? Then you would be unaware of the existence of threads like this (that was a big factor behind giving it its own topic -- so that those who wanted could do a blanket hide on all the SF threads)

dancingqueeen Thu 30-Jul-09 10:39:23

lucky, thank you for those figures, that news article worried me when I first saw it, but when you look beyond the headline, like your figures say, its really not quite so grim. yes, there's an increased risk, but theres an increased risk for women with normal flu anyway and we don't panic about that in normal years. The advice at in the article is that pregnant women do not need to panic or worry, just ensure they get prompt treatment if they do get it.

this is a big topic form me as my mother is very neurotic and trying to persuade me to stop ttc. my personal view is that there is no need to stop (especially as we have been trying for nearly a year now without success). I will be referring to those figures when I need reassuring!

also, the articles (especially the bbc one) are a bit confusing as it appears to say that 6 of the 34 women hospitalised in the study then died. in fact, when i read it carefully, it seems 1 of the 34 women in that study died, but that 6 pregnant women have now died of it in the US. which though obviously very sad, is nothing like as bad as 6 of 34.

Westers Thu 30-Jul-09 15:32:07

Thank you lucky for those calculations - even given the assumptions you've had to make they are comforting.

I'm afraid though that from what I've read pregnant women are more likely to catch swine flu.

The explanation I have read is that during pregnancy your immune system works at a lower rate(this is to lessen the risk of the immune system reacting to the 'invasion' of the foetus and causing a miscarriage).

The NHS website is one of the places I have seen this, although I've not seen any estimate on how much greater the risk of catching the flu is for pregnant woman compared to the general population. Even if one assumed it was double (which I think is probably too high) it would only raise the risk of death under your assumptions to 0.14%

Given that pregnancy is a risky business anyway (it's all too easy to forget this - and good thing too) then I reckon that's OK.

I've also had some concerns about what the risks to the foetus are and have not really found much on this. It seems that the risks are miscarriage or premature labour rather than any developmental problems. Would be interested to hear if anyone has seen more info on this.

We want to start trying for our second child pretty much this week, so are planning to sit down tonigt to talk about whether to go ahead or stop because of swine flu.

But even if we were to wait due to a very low and uncertain risk, it's not like we'd get the all clear any time soon anyway, so reckon we're going ahead!

lucky1979 Thu 30-Jul-09 18:32:59

Westers - From the Lancet study, the babies of the mothers who passed away were born via caesarean section and all survived.

Also, keep the other assumption in mind, if two thirds of the people hospitalised already had underlying health issues the the odds for someone without underlying health conditions of being hospitalised and/or dying are going to be reduced further as well. Another reduction comes from rapid treatment, none of the serious cases in the Lancet study had that treatment. And it's still based on a worst case scenario of 30% infection rate, it will probably be considerably lower.

I would go for it with TTC! :D

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