Pregnant women heeding message about flu.

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Pregnant women are heeding the messages when it comes to protecting their unborn child from flu.

Recent figures from Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust’s maternity department show that more than three times more women opted to have a flu vaccine between October and January 2013/14 compared to the same period in 2012/13.

Between October and January 2013/14, 209 pregnant women in North Lincolnshire were vaccinated – 115 more than those who had one in 2012/13.

In North East Lincolnshire, 413 women were vaccinated between October and January 2013/14 – 289 more than those who had one in 2012/13.

Julie Dixon, head of midwifery across Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust, believes the improved uptake is due to the vaccines now being available through antenatal clinics.

She said: “We introduced the flu vaccinations during routine appointments at the antenatal clinic in 2012. A year on and we are delighted with the uptake.

“It’s now easier and more convenient than ever before for pregnant women to get their flu jab. It lessens the burden for women who in the past would have had to make a separate appointment with their GP.

“We encourage all pregnant ladies across the area to have their vaccination when it becomes available in October. It’s doesn’t matter if you are one week pregnant or just about to have your baby, the flu jab will protect you and baby from the virus.”

Studies have shown that the flu vaccine can be safely and effectively given during any stage of pregnancy. The vaccine does not carry risks for either the mother or baby. In fact, studies have shown that mothers who have had the vaccine while pregnant pass some protection to their babies, which lasts for the first few months of their lives.

Offering flu vaccinations at antenatal clinics is part of a joint drive with North Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and North East Lincolnshire CCG to increase uptake of flu vaccinations among pregnant women.