‘Tdap vaccine during pregnancy? But that’s for babies!’ Is that the first thought that came to your mind? Well, we have news for you. It’s time to add another name to the long list of prenatal shots.
According to a recent release by the US Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, all pregnant women now require a Tdap vaccination too. This is irrespective of any number of Tdap shots they may have gotten in the past.
What Is Tdap?
Tdap is a combination vaccine against Tetanus, Diphtheria, and Pertussis. All three of these diseases can be deadly for mother and infant.
Also known as Lockjaw, this fatal disease causes painful muscle tightening and stiffness all over the body.
Another deadly disease that can cause a thick coating in the back of the throat.
Popularly called Whooping Cough, Pertussis leads to severe coughing spells, which can make breathing difficult.
A Tdap vaccine is part of the routine childhood vaccination program. But now even pregnant women are required to get this vaccination.
[ Read: Is Flu Vaccine Safe In Pregnancy ]
Who Needs This Vaccination?
All pregnant women are required to get this vaccination during their pregnancy. The best time for the Tdap shot during pregnancy is between 27-36 weeks.
Why Tdap Vaccine For Pregnant Women?
In developing countries, pertussis remains a serious concern. In fact, recently the US too has seen a rise in Pertussis cases. Whooping cough may not seem like a very serious disease. But for newborns, it can prove to be fatal. Many infants with this disease need hospitalization and a number of them lose the battle against pertussis. And this occurs before babies are old enough for the Tdap vaccination.
If you get a Tdap vaccine during pregnancy, you’ll pass on the antibodies to your unborn baby (1). These antibodies will keep your infant safe till she is ready for the routine Tdap vaccination.
But you’ll need Tdap shot each time you get pregnant, this is because the level of pertussis antibodies decrease with time.
Other Ways Of Protecting Infant From Pertussis:
Apart from prenatal Tdap shot, other ways of protecting your infant from pertussis includes Cocooning (2). Under this strategy, people close to a newborn are vaccinated until she is ready for her routine Tdap vaccine (at two months of age).
This three-pronged strategy gives a newborn the best possible chance against pertussis.
Do Tdap Vaccine During Pregnancy Pose Danger To Your Baby?
Tdap vaccines during pregnancy are completely harmless. A number of studies have shown that Tdap vaccinations do not cause any problem with pregnancy outcome and are also safe for your newborn baby(3).
Side Effects From Tdap Vaccination:
Most vaccinations do come with some set of side effects. Fortunately, most of these side effects are mild. You can expect the following symptoms after a Tdap shot:
- Swelling at the injection site
- Pain at the injection site
There have been reports of more serious side effects too. But those are rare.
Another worry some women express is the effect of multiple Tdap doses in case of multiple pregnancies. Yes. there are risks involved, but they far outweigh the benefits that come with the Tdap shots.
[ Read: Tetanus Vaccination During Pregnancy ]
Can You Breastfeed After Getting Tdap Vaccination?
Yes, you can breastfeed as usual. Tdap vaccination poses no danger to breastfed infants. In fact, if you plan to breastfeed, Tdap vaccine should be a part of your prenatal plan as you can then pass on more antibodies through breast milk.
If you fail to get Tdap vaccination during pregnancy, make sure to get the Tdap shot as soon as possible post childbirth. This is because many infants catch pertussis from their mother. And as soon as you are safe from the disease, you can keep your newborn safe too.
Women have been getting tetanus and diphtheria vaccination during pregnancy for years now. With the inclusion of pertussis vaccination on the list, experts have successfully added another layer of safety for your newborn. So, don’t chance it. Ask your doctor for the Tdap vaccine and ensure the best possible start for your child.
Did you get the Tdap vaccine while pregnant? Were you informed why you needed it? Tell us in the comments section below.
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