North Wales mum backs winter flu jab for pregnant women after nightmare birth ordeal

Reporter:

Suzanne Kendrick

A MUM had to wait 11 days to meet her newborn baby after contracting swine flu, which developed into pneumonia and sepsis.

Following her experience, Rhian Roberts, of Denbigh, is urging all pregnant women to have their flu jab this winter season.

In 2010, Rhian had just started her maternity leave to await the birth of her daughter, Elsa. Running up to the Christmas period, she began to feel unwell with a heavy cold and slowly deteriorated.

On Boxing Day, her midwife paid her a visit and told her to go straight to the labour ward at Glan Clwyd Hospital in Bodelwyddan.

Rhian said: “Two days before Christmas, I was feeling very poorly. I had a raging temperature and was feeling hot and cold – I just wanted to curl up and go to bed. However I couldn’t do this as it was Christmas.

“By Christmas night, my husband was very concerned about me. Boxing Day came and I called my midwife who, after listening to my symptoms, told me to go straight to the labour ward at Glan Clwyd Hospital.

“Within a few moments of being seen on the labour ward, the medics decided that Elsa had to be delivered by caesarean section that evening, following which I was taken straight to the intensive care unit.

“Unbeknown to me I’d contracted swine flu, which had turned into pneumonia and later sepsis – I woke up eight days later.”
Rhian revealed that she hadn’t had a flu vaccination as she wasn’t convinced it was right was for her.

“I decided not to have the jab as I was late in my pregnancy,” she added.

“If I had my time again, I would urge anyone who is eligible to have the flu jab, but particularly if you’re pregnant as your body is in a compromised position and therefore you need all the protection you can get. Flu can be deadly, but thankfully I was so fortunate that it wasn’t in my instance.”

Rhian met her daughter Elsa for the first time when she was 11 days’ old.

She said: “That wasn’t in my birth plan, which we’d meticulously written in the weeks before her birth. I’m so grateful that the staff knew what to look out for when I attended the labour ward and and particularly to my midwife.”

Teresa Owen, director of public health at Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, said: “Having the jab will not only protect you from catching flu; it will also protect your unborn child for up to six months following their birth.”

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