Monday, September 28, 2009

H1N1 and maternity care

Back in July I wrote about how the swine flu might affect maternity care. Health care organizations in the UK had expressed concerns about providing maternity care services if a large portion of the staff are unable to work due to the H1N1 virus. L&D nurse blogger At Your Cervix says the virus is already beginning to affect their staffing. Any health care worker (physician, nurse, PA, etc) with a confirmed or suspected H1N1 flu cannot come to work and must stay away from work for a certain amount of time. She writes:
We have one confirmed H1N1 case in one of the doctors. One confirmed in a nurse practitioner whose sister is a midwife on the unit. The NP's husband and young child also with confirmed H1N1. The midwife had very close contact with the young child. Just talked to a nurse on L&D who sounds like she probably has N1H1 too. Her symptoms just started.

And so the hospital pandemic begins............

Will they ever be in for a surprise when H1N1 and the other flu viruses start to really hit hard on the staff. There will be no one left to take care of the patients.
The SOCG, Canada's main obstetrical organization, has recently issued H1N1 guidelines for pregnant women (PDF). It strongly support both the seasonal and the H1N1 flu vaccines.

I'm curious to see what happens with health care services in general, and maternity care services specifically, if the H1N1 virus turns into a true pandemic. Although this strain of flu isn't particularly deadly, it is quite contagious and so might keep many people from being able to come to work. Since my husband is a university professor, he will be working in close contact with a demographic at high risk of getting the swine flu. We've never got the flu vaccine before, but I wonder if he might consider doing so this year since he works with an age group highly susceptible to the virus.


  1. There is also the question of whether hospitals should allow moms with swine flu to nurse newborns directly or should require them to be entirely separated from the baby and pump.

    The latter is currently the policy at the hospital where I am volunteering/observing LCs, although it hasn't yet been put to the test. The CDC has apparently issued some conflicting guidelines.

  2. Dr. Freeze, what do you think about articles like this in the NYT about pregnant women's reluctance to get the new swine flu shot? I really understand the hesitance to take a newly developed vaccine....


  3. I've been following the "pandemic" since it emerged in April and have put in over 500 hours of research into the issue. The level of propoganda, misinformation and corruption is astounding. I've never seen anything like it. The dirty politics of maternity care seems like a Sunday picnic in comparison. Given what I now know, there is no way I would consider taking this vaccine, and I'm in one of the high risk groups. PLEASE do your research before you make your decision.

  4. I've never been one to get the flu vaccine, but my husband, a universtiy student, and I are planning to get the H1N1 this year to help protect our 6 month old. That is if I can figure out where to get it (google isn't helping right now) and if it will be available.

    I'm also planning to get the regular flu vaccine because I can get free at work.

  5. Our local hospital won't let in any visitors to the maternity/mother/baby unit besides fathers. Not even siblings! All in the name of swine flu prevention.

  6. Ummm, I'm pretty sure our family had the swine flu a month ago (no, it was not confirmed), along with a whole host of other people, and it was probably one of the most mild forms of flu. There has been a large outbreak of swine flu here in NC in the past month, so of course many cases are going unreported, especially since it really was not that bad. What is the deal with all these scare tactics going on?

  7. There is a lot of negative information out there about the H1N1 vaccine; it's very, very, very new and some of the ingredients are known to be not the greatest things to inject directly into a body.
    It's a tough call because this flu is affecting people who are healthy and young, although a lot of the deaths are still with ederly and otherwise compromised patients. I have become very concerned about vaccines after reading ingredient listings--I can't imagine injecting myself with even minute amounts of those ingredients. One website I was reading was by a father who's child was to be in a drug trial, but they wouldn't release enough safety info to make him feel safe about it--he felt so unsafe he withdrew his child.

  8. Rixa, we are probably getting flu shots in our family for the first time this year since Brian and I both work in school settings (in different towns) and I am pregnant. I'm not crazy about the shots, but I feel like the benefits outweigh the risks of getting seriously ill during pregnancy, or of exposing our small baby during flu season. I've already been sick a few times this pregnancy and can't imagine how the flu would kick my butt right now :P. I am extremely thankful to have the care of a midwife so I am not pressured to do any one thing, and so I don't have to worry about the added risks of exposure in a clinical setting.

  9. Just like Mrs. Mordecai, one of our local hospitals is not allowing anyone under 18 into the hospital, including the maternity ward. It makes me glad that I chose to plan a home birth. I can't imagine not seeing my 3 year old son for 2 days.


  10. I work as a volunteer doula in two different hospitals and have had to make a tough decision on weather to get the H1N1 shot or to stop volunteering for the duration of the scare/pandemic.

    Being pregnant with our second child makes me incredibly hesitant to get the shot. I feel it goes against everything we believe in as parents. I would never vaccinate my infant so how do I justify getting one myself while sharing a body with my little one?

    Looks like I'll be out of the hospital for a while.

  11. If one really studies and researches this vaccine and all other vaccines, they will come to find out that it will only make their immune system WEAKER (injecting all sorts of metals and chemicals in your body only weakens your immune system) and in turn will make you MORE susceptible to the swine flu/flu.
    I hope pregnant moms and nursing moms will not get this shot and only make themselves and their babies weaker and sicker!

  12. Oh the paranoia and fearmongering regarding the vaccine's safety. Gah.

    I will get it as I received the regular flu vaccine already. As I fall into two risk categories (24 and pregnant) i think it is very important for me.

    The evidence behind the vaccine's effectiveness and safety is good, and it is "new" but only in the way that the flu vaccine is new every year.

  13. I've been doing quite a bit of research about the Swine Flu Fraud, and have written several complete blog entries about it. The biggest issue is Squalene. Please take the time to do your homework before injecting your child and your own body with this witches brew of toxins. Here are a few links:

    This final blog entry has the interview with Jane Burgermeister who has been the main whistleblower on the amount of Squalene that is being used in the swine flu shot. She is an Austrian Medical Journalist and was fired after making what she knew public. She has taken the time, money and energy to file legal charges against various pharma companies, the governments in Austria and the WHO as well as the UN.

    I have been absolutely flabergasted by what I have learned the past two weeks. Please take a few hours to really think this one through before you get the shots.

    It's good to "see" you Rixa, I have not been to your blog for a couple months and it was wonderful to see Dio, what a beautiful babe!

    Jenny Hatch

  14. I hope people know that taking the regular flu shot along with the swine flu shot will make the latter less effective (if it's even effective in the first place).

    The regular flu shot hasn't even been proven to be effective. There's been studies that say it's as effective as a _placebo_.
    I actually thought this was general knowledge for some reason. Apparently it isn't.

    Injecting yourself with toxins doesn't make you healthy. Nor will it keep you healthy. Make sure you get plenty of Vitamin D (D3 not D2), Vitamin C and eat a HEALTHY diet. This makes for a strong immune system that will either keep you from getting sick, or it will shorten the duration of your sickness.

    Junk/processed food isn't good for the immune system and neither is stress. So keep both to an absolute minimum. Try to get a full night's sleep, if possible.

  15. Rixa,

    As an exercise today I worked out the relative risk of death from swine for both the general population and pregnant women (using Australian data). They were 0.00085% and 0.0029% respectively. While pregnant women have a significantly increase risk it is still very small in absolute terms. And we've been through our winter season!
    I've posted an entry on the topic if you are interested.


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