Pertussis, which is more commonly referred to as whooping cough, is a serious respiratory infection that can go on for a long time, and has the risk of complications. In childhood, the Dtap vaccine against whooping cough is offered, but it is now recommended that adults receive regular booster shots as well. Tdap is the adult equivalent vaccine, which like Dtap also protects against tetanus and diphtheria. Can pregnant women get this pertussis booster shot?
The pertussis vaccine for infants is one of the less effective childhood vaccines on the market unfortunately. It is important to protect your small children from whopping cough, because it is very unpleasant and can cause complications including pneumonia, nerve damage, and even death. A campaign is now underway in the United States to prevent the spread of pertussis especially among small babies and adults are recommended to get the Tdap booster shot.
A pregnant mother who was immunized against whooping cough passes antibodies onto her baby, meaning the baby can be less likely to catch pertussis before six months of age. The early infant stage is the riskiest time to catch pertussis. While you obviously want to protect your baby against disease to the best of your ability, you may also be concerned about the risks of receiving a vaccine while you are pregnant.
However, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) does recommend that women who have not already been immunized against pertussis in the last ten years get the booster shot after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Receiving the Tdap while you are still trying to conceive is the better option if you need to be immunized, but getting vaccinated in pregnancy is also an option. Besides the Tdap booster shot, the CDC also advises women to get the flu shot in pregnancy expectant mothers are more likely to get the flu, and also more likely to experience complications.