Once you are in the third trimester (28 + weeks) of your pregnancy, it is time to make sure everything is ready for your new family members arrival. From putting the crib together to finishing that last coat of paint on the walls, there is likely one thing you haven’t thought of: protecting baby from Pertussis!
What is Pertussis?
Pertussis (also known as Whooping Cough) is an extremely contagious disease that can cause difficulty with breathing and a severe cough. Pertussis can affect all age groups, but it is particularly dangerous for newborns because they cannot be vaccinated until they are two months old. Fortunately, there is a vaccination that can help reduce the risk of contracting Whooping Cough.
What is the Tdap Vaccination?
Tdap stands for tetanus, diphtheria toxoid, and acellular pertussis. This vaccine is used to help prevent not just Pertussis, but also tetanus, and diphtheria. The vaccine works by activating your immune system to produce antibodies against the pertussis bacteria. These antibodies will cross the placenta and are passed to the baby to help protect him or her. The antibodies last until baby is old enough to get their own vaccine around 2 months of age.
Is the Tdap vaccination safe in pregnancy and breastfeeding?
Yes, the vaccine is safe during pregnancy and after during breastfeeding.
Who should get the Tdap and when?
All pregnant women should get the Tdap vaccination between 27 and 36 weeks gestation. This is the optimal time to maximize baby’s protection. A pregnant woman should get the vaccination with EACH and EVERY pregnancy. In addition to mom getting the vaccine, all family members and caregivers should be up to date with the vaccinations and make sure they have had a recent booster. This will create a cocoon of vaccinated family member and caregivers to help protect baby!