The flu's impact on newborns can be fatal

AUGUSTA, GA (WFXG) - We're taking a look at the impact the flu has on pregnant mothers about to go into labor and what doctors are recommending. First, you should get the flu shot. Doctors say it doesn't guarantee you won't get sick but it will certainly decrease the chances of you and your baby contracting the flu.

I spoke with Neonatologist Dr. Venkatesan Gorantla, who works with babies within the first year of life. He says any newborn's immune system is weak so it's easier for them to catch any sickness and of course premature babies carry a higher risk. But if the mother has the flu, they isolate the baby from the mother for at least a day or until the fever is gone.

"Influenza can kill even the fetus if the pregnant mother contracts influenza early in the pregnancy. After birth, the risk is slightly less but if the mother has influenza the baby can contract it from the mother or even others."

Dr. Gorantla tells me he has not seen any cases in his unit where the newborns or premature babies had the flu, but some mothers did have it. So for safety reasons, they had to monitor the babies.

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