Is It Safe to Get a Vaccination for Whooping Cough During Pregnancy?

Is It Safe to Get a Vaccination for Whooping Cough during Pregnancy?

Whooping cough, which is also known as pertussis, is a respiratory infection caused by a bacteria. When a woman is pregnant, her body goes through a lot of changes. The hormonal changes in the body can weaken the immune system and put her at the risk of contracting infections. Whooping cough is one such infection, which is why now pregnant women are offered vaccines for it.

What Is Whooping Cough?

As mentioned above, whooping cough is a serious respiratory infection caused by bacteria. It can affect people at any age – whether they are young or adults. This infection is not dangerous for adults; however, it can be fatal for infants and children under the age of 5. The symptoms of this infection start showing after 7-10 days of being exposed to it.

Is Whooping Cough Dangerous During Pregnancy?

Whooping cough during pregnancy may not be harmful for a mother-to-be, but it can be extremely dangerous for the unborn baby. Sometimes, this infection may lead to urinary incontinence or even fracture in ribs in the pregnant woman, but it does not harm her in any significantly dangerous way. However, it can affect the health of the baby. This condition may pass on to the baby. In rare cases, this condition can also prove fatal, especially for babies less than 2 months old.

Symptoms of Whooping Cough

Mentioned below are some of the common signs and symptoms of whooping cough during pregnancy.

  • Sudden violent coughing spells
  • Forceful coughing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Deep “whoop” like inhalations after a coughing fit
  • Clogged and runny nose
  • Dry throat or stuffed throat

A pregnant woman coughing

What Are Its Complications?

Whooping cough can lead to numerous complications during pregnancy. The extreme coughing fit can lead to premature labour. A baby may can be susceptible to pneumonia or brain damage. Fetal complications could lead to stillbirth delivery. The biggest problem with whooping cough is that it weakens the immune system of a mother. Although there is no direct link between whooping cough and fetal complications or premature labour, doctors believe that a weakened immune system can affect the health of a woman and make her susceptible to other problems.

How to Prevent Pertussis During Pregnancy

The most effective way to protect you and your child from the condition is by getting an immunization vaccine for whooping cough. This vaccine is known as Tdap and it requires a booster every 10 years or so. The effectiveness of vaccines decreases over time, this is why boosters are required to ensure you don’t develop this condition.

Can You Get a Vaccination for Whooping Cough While Pregnant?

Yes, whooping cough usually affects young children with weakened and developing immune systems. Pregnant women are also at a risk of developing this condition more than any other adults. The rapid hormonal changes during pregnancy weaken the immune system greatly, hence a women may get this condition.

When and How to Get a Whooping Cough Vaccination While Pregnant?

Women who have not been vaccinated against whooping cough prior to their pregnancy should wait until the late second or third trimester to get a vaccination. Women who have just delivered a child and have not had a vaccination for whooping cough during or before the pregnancy should be vaccinated soon after the pregnancy to avoid complications. The whooping cough vaccine does not provide lifelong immunity from the condition and may require boosters every 10 years. Immunization vaccines are the most effective way of curbing this condition

Can a Vaccine for Pertussis During Pregnancy Lead to Whooping Cough?

While there is a possibility that the whooping cough vaccine can cause whooping cough in pregnant women, the chances are extremely low. There has nearly never been a case where this vaccine has caused the condition to pregnant women or adults and children.

Will a Baby Need to Be Vaccinated at 2 Months If the Woman Had Been Vaccinated Against Pertussis During Pregnancy?

Yes, regardless of whether a woman had the vaccine during pregnancy or not, the baby will need to be vaccinated for this condition. The vaccines for a mother may not provide enough antibodies to the child. Doctors recommend that you follow the NHS vaccination schedule for your child.

Can You Get Pertussis Vaccine and Flu Vaccine at the Same Time During Pregnancy?

Yes, there has been no evidence that pertussis and flu vaccines counteract each other in any way. So, you can have both vaccines at the same time. It is important that you stick to the vaccination schedules and do not delay one shot for another.

If a Woman Had Received a Vaccination for Pertussis in Her Childhood, Does She Need to Get Vaccinated Again During Her Pregnancy?

Yes, the pertussis vaccine is not a lifelong immunity shot. It requires boosters every 10 years or so. Doctors recommend that you stay on an active NHS vaccine schedule for whooping cough for your child and you get a booster when you require it. For more accurate information about vaccine boosters for whooping cough, talk to your medical professional.

If You Were Vaccinated Against Whooping Cough in Your Previous Pregnancy, Do You Need to Be Vaccinated Again?

Yes, to protect your baby from this condition at birth, doctors recommend that a mother must get vaccinated in the late second or third trimester for whooping cough. This will ensure your baby does not contract the condition.

Are There Any Risks or Side Effects of Pertussis Vaccination?

Yes, there are numerous side effects of this vaccine, which are mentioned below:

  • Mild swelling
  • Redness at the injection point
  • Tenderness at the injection point
  • Loss of appetite
  • Mild fever
  • Skin irritation at the injection site

Who Should Not Get a Vaccination for Pertussis?

Vaccination for whooping cough during pregnancy is recommended for nearly everyone who is not allergic to the shot itself. The chances of you being allergic to this shot are close to zero. Everyone regardless of the age should have a whooping cough vaccine and its subsequent booster shots on time. It isn’t just the mother, everyone who comes close to interacting with the baby should get a shot, as whooping cough can be very dangerous. The condition is also very contagious and can be contracted through the air or by smear contact. So, you must ensure that your baby’s caregivers also receive a vaccination for pertussis.

Whooping cough is characterized by the “Whoop” sound after a cough, this symptom may not exist in adults but is very prominent in young children. A woman may also be affected by this condition during pregnancy, which is why, you must look out for its symptoms and seek medical assistance immediately.

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