Whooping cough (sometimes called pertussis) is a serious disease that can cause babies to stop breathing. Unfortunately, babies must be two months old before they can start getting their whooping cough vaccine. The good news is you can avoid this gap in protection by getting the whooping cough vaccine (also called the Tdap shot because it protects against tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis) in the third trimester, preferably between your 27th and 36th week of pregnancy. By getting vaccinated, you will pass antibodies to your baby so he or she is born with protection against whooping cough.
The whooping cough vaccine is very safe for you and your baby, although it does pose some potential – and mild – side effects, such as redness, swelling, or pain where the shot if given in the arm. This should go away within a few days. You cannot get whooping cough from the vaccine, as the vaccine does not contain any live bacteria.
Recommended for every pregnancy
Even though you may have had the whooping cough vaccine in the past, the amount of antibodies in your body is highest about two weeks after getting the vaccine. From there, the antibodies decrease over time. Therefore, the vaccine is recommended during every pregnancy to ensure your baby receives the greatest number of protective antibodies from you, and the best protection possible against the disease.
To learn more about Whooping Cough, the vaccine, and ways to protect your baby, download the following summary guide from the CDC.