Pediatrics published a study that said women who get the Tdap vaccine while pregnant protect their babies from the whooping cough.
Whooping cough, or pertussis (as it is technically known), causes uncontrollable coughing that makes it hard to breathe. The disease is said to be highly contagious and can be especially deadly for babies less than a year old.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that pregnant women get the Tdap vaccine at the beginning of their third trimester of pregnancy, as to allow enough time for the antibodies to transfer from mommy-to-be to her baby.
“After receiving the whooping cough vaccine, your body will create protective antibodies (proteins produced by the body to fight off diseases) and pass some of them to your baby before birth. These antibodies provide your baby some short-term protection against whooping cough in early life. These antibodies can also protect your baby from some of the more serious complications that come along with whooping cough,” explains the CDC on its website.
The study published in Pediatrics further confirms the CDC’s recommendations.
“The results of this study demonstrate that maternal Tdap administered during pregnancy provides the best protection against pertussis, which strongly supports ACIP’s current recommendation to administer Tdap during each pregnancy,” stated Dr. Nicola Klein, study senior author, according to WebMD.
The CDC recommends that women who are pregnant get the Tdap vaccine during each pregnancy, as opposed to getting it after the baby is born. After the vaccine triggers the creation of antibodies, it takes about two weeks for those to start transferring over to the baby.
Babies who come down with whooping cough, whether because their mom was not vaccinated or another reason, have a 23% risk of getting pneumonia, 61% will have apnea and 1% will die, according to the CDC.
The authors of the Pediatrics study further explained:
“The strategy of immunizing pregnant women to boost maternal antibody transfer appears to be more effective for protecting young infants against pertussis than are attempts at ‘cocooning,’ in which mothers and other persons in close contact with newborns are vaccinated after the birth.”