What is TDAP?
Tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis are very serious diseases. Tdap vaccine can protect us from these diseases. And, Tdap vaccine given to pregnant women can protect newborn babies against pertussis.
TETANUS (Lockjaw) is rare in the United States today. It causes painful muscle tightening and stiffness, usually all over the body.
- It can lead to tightening of muscles in the head and neck so you can’t open your mouth, swallow, or sometimes even breathe. Tetanus kills about 1 out of 10 people who are infected even after receiving the best medical care.
DIPHTHERIA is also rare in the United States today. It can cause a thick coating to form in the back of the throat.
- It can lead to breathing problems, heart failure, paralysis, and death.
PERTUSSIS (Whooping Cough) causes severe coughing spells, which can cause difficulty breathing, vomiting, and disturbed sleep.
- It can also lead to weight loss, incontinence, and rib fractures. Up to 2 in 100 adolescents and 5 in 100 adults with pertussis are hospitalized or have complications, which could include pneumonia or death.
These diseases are caused by bacteria. Diphtheria and pertussis are spread from person to person through secretions from coughing or sneezing. Tetanus enters the body through cuts, scratches, or wounds.
Before vaccines, as many as 200,000 cases of diphtheria, 200,000 cases of pertussis, and hundreds of cases of tetanus, were reported in the United States each year. Since vaccination began, reports of cases for tetanus and diphtheria have dropped by about 99% and for pertussis by about 80%.
TDAP Vaccine and Pregnancy
The TDAP vaccine is especially important during pregnancy. CDC recommends pregnant women get the whooping cough vaccine between 27 and 36 weeks of each pregnancy, preferably during the earlier part of this time period. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American College of Nurse-Midwives support this recommendation. The goal is to give babies some short-term protection against whooping cough in early life.
Whooping Cough Vaccination:
Whooping cough is a serious disease that can be deadly for babies. Unfortunately, babies can’t get vaccinated and start building protection against whooping cough until they are two months old. Avoid this gap in protection by getting the whooping cough vaccine during the third trimester of your pregnancy. By doing so, you pass antibodies to your baby before birth. These antibodies help protect your baby in the first few months of life.
You Need a Whooping Cough Vaccine during Each Pregnancy
The amount of antibodies you have from the whooping cough vaccine will decrease over time. So women need a whooping cough vaccine during each pregnancy to give each baby the greatest number of protective antibodies. Getting the vaccine during pregnancy is the best way to help protect your baby from whooping cough in early life.
Getting the Vaccine During Pregnancy Is Safe For Your Baby:
Getting the whooping cough vaccine while you are pregnant is very safe for you and your baby. The most common side effects include:
- Pain, redness, or swelling where the shot was given
- Body aches
- Feeling tired
Severe side effects are extremely rare. You cannot get whooping cough from the whooping cough vaccine. Learn more about safety and side effects.
Young Babies are at the Highest Risk:
When babies—even healthy babies—catch whooping cough, it can be very serious because their immune systems are still developing. They can get pneumonia (a lung infection), and many have trouble breathing.
About half of babies younger than one year old who get whooping cough end up in the hospital. The younger the baby is, the more likely it is that he will need treatment in a hospital. Every year in the United States, typically between 5 to 15 babies die from whooping cough. Most of these deaths are in babies too young to get their own whooping cough vaccine.