A Dumbarton mum-to-be is backing the drive to urge pregnant women to get their flu vaccination early.

With the number of reported cases of the illness in Scotland more than doubling last winter, the Royal College of Midwives (RCM) has echoed NHS advice for expectant mothers to get protected before winter sets in.

And now Suzanne Amir, who is eight months pregnant, is getting behind the campaign after being vaccinated at Levenside Medical Practice.

The 34-year-old from Dumbarton, who is expecting her first child in November, said: “I prioritised getting the flu vaccine as I wanted to protect my baby. With the birth being so close, it’s also important to me to stay well during the final stages of pregnancy.

“Even though my pregnancy has been fairly straightforward, my midwife explained that being pregnant can weaken the immune system, and getting flu could cause complications. The vaccine only took a few minutes, and I now have peace of mind that we’re both protected.”

The flu vaccine, which is safe at any stage of pregnancy, only takes a few minutes and helps protect the mother for around a year, and the baby for up to three months after birth.

The vaccine remains the best defence against flu, and will be offered to around 2.5 million people in Scotland this year.

Dr Mary Ross-Davie RCM’s Director for Scotland said: “The RCM recommends that pregnant women in Scotland have the flu vaccination. The flu is a highly infectious illness, which can be very serious during pregnancy for both mums-to-be and their babies.

"That is why we are encouraging all pregnant women to have the vaccine as soon as possible so they are protected from flu viruses circulating this winter.

“It’s important that if pregnant women have any questions or concerns about the flu vaccination or any vaccination in pregnancy that they speak to their midwife, GP or practice nurse who can provide them with more information and advice.

“The RCM also urges midwives and other health professionals to have the vaccination to protect themselves, their family and the people they care for from the infection also."