The CDC recommends the pertussis (whooping cough) and flu vaccines during every pregnancy.
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. Continue reading →
It is known through countless studies that breastfed babies have a lower instance of infection. There is also a huge increase of infection in weaning children at the time when the protection of the breast milk is diminished. So, not only is breast milk an amazing source of nutrition for newborns and infants, it provides the baby’s immune system with some great protection.
When our bodies become sick with a virus, bacteria, fungi, parasite, etc., our adaptive immune system, the one that “remembers” microbes, not only fights off the microbe but creates protective immunity against it.
Protective immunity is the body’s ability to resist a certain disease. The body’s source of protective immunity against microbes comes from the antibodies created by B cells, as well as the memories stored in the body’s specialized lymphocytes (B and T cells). By “specialized”, I mean they hold a special memory of the particular microbe the protective immunity is against. Continue reading →