PREGNANT women in Wiltshire are being urged to have the flu jab to proptect themselves and their unborn babies So far almost half (40 per cent) of the pregnant women across the region have had a free flu vaccine. Now the rest are being encouraged by doctors and midwives to do the same thing.

It is important for pregnant women to have the injection to avoid flu which can make otherwise healthy people feel very ill for up to a fortnight.

There is evidence that pregnant women risk complications if they get flu which can harm them and their child – including bronchitis, pneumonia, a risk of having a miscarriage or the baby being born prematurely or with a low birth weight. Elizabeth Mearns, medical director for the Bath, Gloucestershire, Swindon & Wiltshire Area Team said: “Doctors and midwives are cautious about advising pregnant women to have vaccines and medicines... in the case of the flu jab to women in pregnancy it is clear that the benefits to women and babies of having the jab far outweigh the risks.”

The flu jab is not harmful – the vaccine is safe during any stage of pregnancy.