Scotland’s leading midwife to take Twitter questions

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Mums-to-be will be offered the chance to put their questions about flu to Scotland’s leading pregnancy expert during a live Twitter session this week.

Gillian Smith, Director of the Royal College of Midwives in Scotland, will be on hand to lend her expertise on pregnancy and the seasonal flu vaccination when she leads a Scottish Government flu vaccination Q&A, live on Twitter on Wednesday 29 January at 5pm. Latest figures show that only 45.3 per cent of pregnant women have taken up the offer of the flu vaccine, although almost a third (62.8 per cent) of pregnant women with underlying conditions have been immunised. The Q&A platform will help to alleviate any concerns that pregnant women may have about being vaccinated and the impact on their unborn baby.

Gillian Smith will focus on highlighting the safety of the vaccine and its benefits, which include protecting the pregnant mother from contracting flu as well as their baby for the first three months of its life. The vaccine can be given at any stage of pregnancy to women, including those who suffer from underlying health conditions.

Gillian Smith, Director of the Royal College of Midwives in Scotland said: “Due to changes in the immune system of women during pregnancy, they are at greater risk of suffering from complications if they contract flu. A pregnant woman is three and a half times more likely to be hospitalised from flu then a normal healthy woman, which is another reason that the flu vaccination is vitally important.

“Even though it’s January, it is not too late to get your free vaccine, which will protect you and your unborn baby for the remainder of the winter and avoid unnecessary anguish. I strongly recommend pregnant women to visit their GP and receive the vaccine as soon as possible – it’s better to be safe than sorry.

“I’m looking forward to interacting with pregnant women from across Scotland on Wednesday evening, and offering them my advice.”

Dr Nicola Steedman, the Scottish Government’s Senior Medical Officer, reinforced the importance of getting immunised against flu: “It is so important that pregnant women take the time to get vaccinated against flu, even if they currently feel healthy and fit. Not having the vaccine simply isn’t worth the risk, for you or your baby.

“The Q&A this week will be a unique opportunity for mums-to-be to seek advice and reassurance from one of Scotland’s leading healthcare professionals with over 40 years of experience, as well as being a qualified midwife. I’d encourage any woman with doubts, concerns or perhaps even just questions about the flu jab to log in to Twitter this Wednesday and speak to Gillian directly.”

All members of the public are invited to join the live Q&A on Twitter. Details below:

Join live Q&A #askscotflu

Health expert: Gillian Smith from Royal College of Midwives

Wednesday 29 January at 5pm – Tweet @scotgovhealth