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Can Catching a Cold or Flu During Pregnancy Cause a Miscarriage?

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Updated May 04, 2009

Question: Can Catching a Cold or Flu During Pregnancy Cause a Miscarriage?

Winter is cold season for more reasons than one, and nearly everyone catches at least one cold or flu in the winter months. Should pregnant women worry about common winter viruses?

Answer:

Although cold and flu viruses can certainly make you uncomfortable, they aren't likely to cause miscarriage. No study has ever proven a link between catching a common cold or flu during pregnancy and having a miscarriage.

That said, there can be causes for concern. Having a fever during pregnancy has never been proven to cause miscarriage specifically but fevers can increase the risk of other complications, such as neural tube defects, so your doctor may advise you to keep your fever well controlled with acetaminophen (a.k.a. Tylenol) while you are sick.

In addition, a few studies have linked having the flu during pregnancy to increased risk of long-term neurological side effects for the baby, so it makes sense to use precautions to avoid catching flu during pregnancy whenever possible. Talk to your doctor for specific advice for your situation.

Source:

Shi, Limin, S. Hossein Fatemi, Robert W. Sidwell, and Paul H. Patterson, "Maternal Influenza Infection Causes Marked Behavioral and Pharmacological Changes in the Offspring." Journal of Neuroscience 1 Jan 2003. Accessed 8 May 2008.

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