Whether you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, we believe it is important for you to focus on taking good care of yourself and make sure you receive the best care possible for a healthy pregnancy. We also know that you probably have a lot of questions about your pregnancy, so we sat down with Dr. Marley Kercher to address some of the most common questions we receive about the Tdap vaccination.
What is the Tdap Vaccine and Why is it Important?
The Tdap vaccine protects against pertussis, also known as whooping cough. Pertussis is a disease that spreads quickly and is especially dangerous for babies.
“It is really important for women who are pregnant to receive the Tdap vaccine because the majority of morbidity and mortality from pertussis occurs in infants less than 3 months old,” Dr. Kercher says.
Infants typically do not receive their first set of vaccinations until they are 2 months old, but women can help protect their babies from pertussis by receiving the Tdap vaccination between 27 and 36 weeks of their pregnancy.
“The baby gets some passive immunity from the mother if she is vaccinated, so it provides some protection for the newborn before they are able to receive their own immunizations,” Dr. Kercher says.
How Effective is the Tdap Vaccine?
In a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers found that receiving the Tdap vaccine in the third trimester of pregnancy prevented more than 78% of cases of pertussis in babies under 2 months of age.
“No vaccine is 100% effective, but Tdap is highly effective and the cases of pertussis that do occur after vaccination are less likely to be serious or potentially life-threatening,” Dr. Kercher explains.
Are There Any Potential Risks I Should be Concerned About?
At Women’s Care, we are committed to working with each of our patients to develop a healthcare plan that is right for them. We also believe that having access to up-to-date educational information is important to make decisions about your health.
According to The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), “there is no evidence of adverse fetal effects from vaccinating pregnant women with an inactivated virus or bacterial vaccines or toxoids, and a growing body of robust data demonstrate safety of such use . Furthermore, no evidence exists that suggests that any vaccine is associated with an increased risk of autism or adverse effects due to exposure to traces of the mercury-containing preservative thimerosal.”
What if I didn’t Receive my Tdap Vaccine when I was Pregnant?
If you missed the window to get your Tdap vaccine during your pregnancy, it is important to do so after your baby is born.
While your baby will not have the antibodies from your vaccination passed down to them, getting the Tdap vaccine soon after birth will prevent you from getting pertussis and passing it on to your baby.
Anyone that spends time with your baby (ie: caregivers, grandparents, close family and friends), should also be vaccinated for Tdap at least 2 weeks before meeting your baby.
Your baby can get their first Tdap vaccination when they are 2 months old and will need a total of three doses of the vaccine to be fully protected.
Schedule An Appointment
At Women’s Care, our providers and midwives are here to encourage your decisions and help tailor your birth plan to support your ideas and goals.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our providers at Women’s Care to talk about the Tdap vaccine or any other health related topic, you can call us at 920-729-7105 or click here.