As a parent, you do everything you can to keep your child healthy. Keeping your child healthy starts before they are born by doing things to have a healthy pregnancy. You take vitamins, avoid things that can harm your unborn baby, and make sure you get exercise and plenty of rest. Getting the whooping cough vaccine (called Tdap) is also an important part of having a healthy pregnancy.
Pregnant women should get the whooping cough vaccine during every pregnancy. When you get vaccinated, your body creates protection against the disease. If you get vaccinated while pregnant, you can pass protection to your baby. Newborn babies need this protection from their mothers because they are not old enough to get their own vaccines yet. The vaccine is safe to get during pregnancy. Women should get it as soon as their doctor recommends it to make sure enough protection is passed to the baby before they are born.
Whooping cough (also called pertussis) is a lung disease that causes violent coughing attacks that repeat for weeks or months. This disease is common and spreads easily by coughing and sneezing. Whooping cough can make babies very sick and can even be deadly. When young babies get whooping cough they may stop breathing or cough so hard that they turn blue or vomit. Babies can be in the hospital for a long time if they are struggling to breathe because of the symptoms caused by whooping cough.
Whooping cough vaccination during pregnancy is the best way to protect newborns from getting this dangerous disease. The protection a newborn gets from their mother’s whooping cough vaccine does not last for a long time. This is why it is important for babies to get their own vaccines so their bodies can make their own protection. Whooping cough vaccines (called DTaP) are recommended for babies beginning at 2 months once their mother’s protection goes away.
If you are pregnant, ask your doctor about the vaccines you need to keep you and your baby healthy. The whooping cough vaccine along with other recommended vaccines should be covered by health insurance and included in your prenatal care. Call the number on the back of your insurance card to ask about vaccine cost. Uninsured adults and adults whose insurance does not cover vaccines may receive them at low cost at a clinic enrolled in the Uninsured and Underinsured Adult Vaccine program. Go to Vaccination Clinics Serving Uninsured and Underinsured Adults: www.health.state.mn.us/uuavsearch.
You can learn more about the importance of whooping cough vaccine here: www.cdc.gov/pertussis/pregnant/mom/index.html