PREGNANT women are being warned by the Government to avoid crowded places to minimise the risk of catching swine flu.

The advice is expected to be be re-issued today on the NHS website following the death of a woman with the virus in Leytonstone, who died after giving birth prematurely.

Ruptara Miah, 39, died in Whipps Cross Hospital on July 13 and her baby is fighting for his life in intensive care.

Health experts say expectant mothers could suffer possible complications if they contract swine flu, such as pneumonia, breathing difficulties and dehydration, because they have suppressed immune systems.

Young children are also vulnerable.

Pregnant women are advised to wash their hands regularly with soap and water, and to avoid crowded places when possible.

However, the NHS website states that most pregnant mums who contract swine flu will have mild symptoms and recover within a week.

The Department of Health has said that the National Pandemic Flu Service in England will be up and running by the end of next week to provide extra support to the NHS.

Andy Burnham Secretary of State said: “The flu service will be able to quickly diagnose people with swine flu and give them the opportunity to get antivirals from local centres, meaning in turn that GPs’ time will be freed up enabling them to deal with other illnesses.”