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Whooping Cough Vaccine Now Recommended for Pregnant Women

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Along with the flu shot, the DTap vaccine, which immunizes against diptheria, tetanus, and pertussis, (also known as whooping cough), is now the second vaccine that should be routinely given to all pregnant women, according to the Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices. If the mother-to-be cannot be vaccinated during pregnancy, she should receive the shot right after giving birth.

Plus: Parenting’s Guide to Vaccines

The reason for the new rec? A vaccinated mother can pass down antibodies to her fetus, so the baby has some protection until it can receive the first DTap immunization at around 2 months old, finishing up the series around 6 months. For babies (along with the elderly and those with compromised immune systems), whooping cough can be deadly, an especially scary prospect given pertussis outbreaks around the country.

Plus: Whooping Cough Vaccines Wanes Over Time

The committee recommends that the vaccine be administered between 27 and 36 weeks, although it is safe any time during pregnancy, even if the woman has gotten the DTap before. The previous recommendation was that only pregnant women who hadn’t already been immunized should get the vaccine, but doctors now know protection wears off over time. The committee also recommends that it be repeated for each pregnancy. 

Has your OB/GYN talked to you about the vaccine? Leave a comment.

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