Taking proper health precautions such as going to regular check-ups and receiving vaccines is part of any good preventative health regimen. Though taking these measures is even more important when you are pregnant in order to protect your baby.
Recently, outbreaks of Pertussis (also known as ‘whooping cough’) have been on the rise and babies are the most at-risk demographic. The effects of pertussis can be severe and even fatal for newborns and infants.
The TDaP vaccine is the best protection available for your baby, and it is the most effective if it is administered to you while pregnant. Below, we’ll go over the top three reasons why.
The sooner, the better
Administering the TDaP vaccine in the postpartum stage does not provide an infant proper immunity to pertussis— and they remain vulnerable to the disease and its complications. Infants can contract pertussis from anyone they come into contact with including parents, siblings, grandparents, and other types of caregivers.
Vaccinating both mother and baby for the disease simultaneously provides double protection. This way, the child is independently protected and the mother is protected, lowering her chance of potentially passing pertussis to her child if she were to catch it.
Lower the risks
Because it takes two weeks for the TDaP vaccine to take effect, vaccinating before a baby is born is the best way to prepare them for exposure to the outside world.
The vaccine is most effective when it is given between 27 and 36 weeks of gestation, and preferably during the early part of this period of the pregnancy. This maximizes the maternal antibody response and passive antibody transfer to the infant.
Fewer babies are affected by pertussis when TDaP is given during pregnancy rather than in the postpartum stage. However, this isn’t a one-and-done vaccine and must be administered to the mother once per pregnancy. Even if you have gotten the vaccine once in the past, you probably will still need to get the vaccine again.
If you are in doubt, contact your OBGYN and ask for advice.
It can be tempting to think that your child doesn’t need the vaccine. At first, it might seem like a better idea to vaccinate everyone that will be in contact with your child: grandma, grandpa, siblings, relatives, and friends. However, it is never possible to ensure that everyone your child comes in contact with will be vaccinated, and it may not be possible for your whole family to get vaccinated.
If you are going to cocoon, make sure you have administered the vaccine to your child first, and then ask immediate caregivers around you to take the vaccine. Adults 19 years and up (who are not pregnant) should only get one dose of the TDaP vaccine. If a person will be in close proximity to your newborn and already had the TDaP vaccine, then it is not recommended that they receive the vaccination again.
Part of the reason doctors recommend that the TDaP vaccine be administered so early during pregnancy is that the protection from pertussis vaccines do not last as long as vaccination experts would like them to. It is the smart move to protect your child as soon as possible.
We have highlighted 3 reasons for you to get vaccinated while you are pregnant. With these points in mind, you can make an educated choice when deciding whether to receive the vaccine. Keep in mind that only one dose of the vaccine is required per pregnancy from between 27 to 36 weeks gestation period.
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If you would like more information about the TDaP vaccine or just want to discuss care during your pregnancy, request an appointment!