Patient Education

Tdap Vaccine for Expecting Mothers

When you become pregnant, your doctor may recommend or offer the Tdap vaccination.  The vaccine’s purpose is to prevent tetanus (lock jaw), diphtheria, and pertussis (whooping cough) – all diseases caused by bacteria.  Although you will reap all the benefits of the vaccine, the most important for you as an expecting mother is the prevention of pertussis.  Pertussis causes severe coughing spells that have the potential to result in difficulty breathing, disturbed sleep, and vomiting.  Dangerous cases can even cause weight loss, fractures of the ribs, and hospitalization due to pneumonia which has the potential to lead to death.

Even if you have had a dose of Tdap before, you should receive one each time you are pregnant to prevent the risk of your new born baby contracting pertussis.  Pertussis is spread easily through coughing and/or sneezing and is highly contagious.  Infants are most at risk to experience the severe symptoms of pertussis, and the prevention starts with the person the baby will be most in contact with- you.

Proving its effectiveness, since the vaccination’s debut in 2005, the number of cases of pertussis have decreased by 80%.  The vaccine is safe and highly recommended by credible organizations including: the CDC, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and the Society of Adolescent Health and Medicine.

Here at Columbus OB-GYN we highly recommend receiving the vaccination during your pregnancy.  We will always have plenty of Tdap stocked in our offices for your convenience.  Ask your doctor about the right time for you to receive your vaccine, as well as any other questions you might have regarding Tdap.  Usually, we recommend receiving Tdap during the third trimester, or at least 20 weeks into your pregnancy, but if you do not get Tdap during your pregnancy, it is not too late to protect you and your baby.  You may still get the vaccine after the baby is born, and you should do so as soon as possible.

Although opting to receive the vaccine is the best decision for you and your baby, there are people who should not be vaccinated.  If you have ever received Tdap or any other vaccine containing tetanus, diphtheria, or pertussis and experienced a severe allergic reaction, or if you experienced seizures or coma after receiving a dose of DTP, DTaP, or Tdap- the vaccine is not for you and you should inform your doctor of these past episodes.

Any further questions you may have about getting vaccinated for tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis can be answered by your doctor at your next appointment.  Take the right steps to protect you and your baby from these diseases, and inquire about Tdap today.