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Pregnancy & H1N1 Facts for Healthcare Workers


September 19, 2013- Detroit Medical Center Physician and Chief of Perinatology Research Branch of NICHD/NIH

Detroit Medical Center Physician and Chief of Perinatology Research Branch of NICHD/NIH at Wayne State University Dr. Roberto Romero Named Editor in Chief of American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology

Roberto Romero, M.D., D.Med.Sci, Detroit Medical Center (DMC) physician and chief of the National Institutes of Health’s Perinatology Research Branch at the Wayne State University School of Medicine, has been appointed an editor in chief for Obstetrics of the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology (AJOG), a preeminent forum in the discipline, publisher Elsevier Health Sciences announced today.

 

AJOG is the oldest journal in obstetrics and gynecology, first published in 1869. The AJOG has published almost 50 percent of the ‘citation classics’ in the discipline of obstetrics and gynecology in the last 50 years, as well as many groundbreaking discoveries that have changed the practice of medicine and the lives of women and their families. Examples include:

 

•       The method currently used for the detection of early pregnancy (pregnancy test), used worldwide

•       The description of the vaginal pap smear by Papanicolaou in 1941 – the basis for the Pap test to screen for cervical cancer

•       Polycystic ovarian disease, which affects 5-10 percent- of women of reproductive age

•       The first description of the labor curve, which is utilized to assess progress in labor

•       The importance of progesterone in pregnancy maintenance

•       The non-stress test used daily in the evaluation of fetal well-being

•       The biophysical profile used to assess fetal health

•       The estimation of fetal weight using ultrasound and implemented worldwide to monitor fetal growth

 

“Since I began this journey in obstetrics and gynecology, I have been privileged to be part of and witness many of the groundbreaking discoveries that have changed the lives of women and their families by improving pregnancy outcomes,” said Dr. Romero. “We are looking forward to transforming our journal to connect physicians, scientists and patients and improve healthcare for women and families, as well as drive progress in the field worldwide. We are proud that the Editorship will be housed at the Detroit Medical Center, Wayne State University and the Perinatology Research Branch.”

 

Much of the work conducted by the Perinatology Research Branch of NICHD in Detroit has been published on the pages of the AJOG. Among the discoveries are methods for prenatal diagnosis of congenital anomalies, the evidence that progesterone could reduce the rate of preterm birth and neonatal complications in women with a short cervix by 45 percent, and the importance of intra-amniotic infection as a cause of preterm labor and delivery.

 

Dr. Romero is one of the world’s foremost authorities in the study of pregnancy and its complications. At the Perinatology Research Branch of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Dr. Romero leads a research team that has made seminal discoveries related to premature birth and congenital anomalies, the two leading causes of infant mortality in the United States.

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WHAT IS H1N1 INFLUENZA?
H1N1 influenza is a respiratory disease that is caused by a type A influenza virus. The current H1N1 virus contains unique genes from pig and human influenza viruses and hence is called the “Novel H1N1 Influenza Virus”. This strain of flu germ spreads from human to human and can cause illness.



Does H1N1 INFLUENZA pose special risks for pregnant women?
Pregnant women are at an increased risk of catching H1N1 or seasonal flu. Pregnant patients with H1N1 infection have an increased risk of complications. Although influenza viruses do not infect the baby while in the uterus, the high fever and any complications caused by the flu can potentially be harmful to the baby.



WHAT PRECAUTIONS CAN I TAKE TO PROTECT MYSELF AND MY UNBORN BABY?
The best way to protect yourself and your unborn baby is to have a vaccination (which is safe during pregnancy). You should also make sure you follow good hygiene practices including:

 

  • Wash your hands often with soap and warm water. Alcohol-based gel hand cleaners are also good to use.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Talk to your doctor about your concerns.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF H1N1 INFLUENZA?
The symptoms of H1N1 flu are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and may include acute onset of:

  • Fever (greater than 100 F or 37.8 C)
  • Cough
  • Sore Throat
  • Stuffy nose
  • Chills
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with H1N1 flu.


WILL THE SYMPTOMS BE THE SAME IF I AM PREGNANT?
Yes, the symptoms of flu will be the same as in women who are not pregnant.




WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I GET SICK?
If you get sick with flu-like symptoms, stay home, limit contact with others, and call your doctor as soon as possible.

  • Treat any fever right away. Tylenol® (acetaminophen) is the best treatment of fever in pregnancy.
  • Get plenty of rest and drink clear fluids.
  • Your doctor may test you for flu or will decide if you need medications to treat the flu.
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash and cleanse your hands.
  • Clean hands often with soap and water or alcohol- based hand rub.
  • Do not go to work, school, or other public places while you are ill.
  • Avoid close contact with other people.
  • Get emergency medical care right away if you have trouble breathing, chest pain, purple or blue lips or skin, severe vomiting and are dehydrated and/or dizzy, unresponsive or confused.


IS IT OK TO BREAST FEED MY BABY IF I AM SICK?

  • Do not stop breastfeeding if you are ill. This will help protect your baby from infection.
  • Be careful not to cough or sneeze in the baby’s face, wash your hands often.
  • Your doctor might ask you to wear a mask to keep from spreading this new virus to your baby.
  • If you are too sick to breastfeed, pump and have someone give the expressed milk to your baby.


IS THERE A VACCINE FOR H1N1 INFLUENZA?
Yes, an H1N1 virus vaccine is expected to be available in mid- to late October 2009. The CDC recommends this vaccine for pregnant women when it first becomes available. This vaccine has been tested in pregnant women and found to be safe and effective.


REMEMBER: The seasonal flu vaccine is not expected to protect against the H1N1 flu, therefore individuals are encouraged to get both types of vaccines.

 

 

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