The pertussis vaccine is particularly important during pregnancy. Pertussis can be life-threatening to your newborn.
The pertussis vaccine (most commonly given in the Tdap vaccine–includes tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis) should given between 27-32 weeks gestation. The earlier the better. It will take at least two weeks for your body to make antibodies and pass them to your unborn child. Getting the vaccine around 27 weeks allows enough time for antibodies to form just in case you go into labor early.
These antibodies will normally protect the newborn until he is able to get his DTaP vaccine at 2 months (in the US).
Make sure you get this vaccine during EVERY pregnancy. The vaccine is mainly given to protect the child. You must get it every pregnancy to protect each child from pertussis. And it is safe for you to do so.
Next up…the flu shot. It is safe and recommended by the CDC to get the flu shot during pregnancy.
If you get the flu while pregnant you can end up seriously ill. It also can cause serious problems for your unborn child and may cause you to go into early labor. The flu shot not only protects you from the flu but will protect your newborn from the flu for a few months after birth.
And don’t forget to have everyone in the household age 6 months and older get the flu shot also. Herd immunity can help protect your baby.
A few other vaccines…
When traveling overseas you may want to consult your doctor about vaccines you may need for travel. Make sure to get your vaccines 4-6 weeks ahead of your travel date if you need them.
You may need a hepatitis B vaccine if you test positive for it. Your doctor will let you know if you need one.
You may need a hepatitis A vaccine, meningococcal vaccine, or other vaccines during your pregnancy and your doctor will help you with that should you need it.
The takeaway from this?
Get the Tdap and flu vaccine during every pregnancy. I can not stress that enough. I’ve talked to many women who have said their doctor never even mentioned getting this vaccine. This is important. Be your own health advocate and make sure you and your baby are protected.
To all the expectant mothers out there, I wish you the best!