by Rachel Burt, Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner at Roswell OB/GYN………………………………….
In 2012, new cases of whooping cough (pertussis) reached epidemic levels. The CDC reported 41,000 new cases of whooping cough in 2012 with at least 18 deaths. The majority of deaths are infants less than 3 months of age who are too young to be vaccinated. Whooping cough causes severe and life threatening complications in infants. One in 5 infants with pertussis are hospitalized for pneumonia and 1 in 100 will die. Mothers are responsible for transmitting 30-40% of infant pertussis infections.
Pregnant mothers can help protect their unborn children from pertussis. The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends women receive a dose of Tdap (tetanus, diptheria, and pertussis) vaccine during each pregnancy irrespective of the patients prior vaccine history. Your provider should recommend you receive your vaccination between 27 and 36 weeks to provide optimal protection for you and your baby. By receiving the vaccination during pregnancy, the mother provides passive immunity for the baby. The maternal pertussis antibodies passed to baby in utero help protect the baby against pertussis during the first few months of life.
ACIP concluded there is no elevated frequency or an unusual occurrence of adverse events among pregnant women or their newborns who received Tdap vaccine. http://www.cdc.gov/vaccines/vpd-vac/pertussis/tdap-pregnancy-hcp.htm
We strongly recommend vaccinating all family members and caregivers who will be in contact with your baby. We recommend you talk with anyone who will be caring for your newborn about updating their vaccines. They can come to our office at your next visit to be vaccinated or visit their primary care provider for the pertussis vaccine.
By getting vaccinated, you are not only protecting yourself from a serious illness but also protecting your unborn baby.
Please visit the following link at the CDC website for further information:
If you have any concerns, please schedule an appointment with your healthcare provider at 770 751 3600 or online at