Whooping cough shot shown safe for pregnant women

Pregnant woman getting a shot

Women who get a booster shot against whooping cough, or pertussis, during pregnancy don’t increase their risk of having a problem birth, and they boost their babies’ immunity to the disease.

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Guest post by Nathan Seppa

Women who get a booster shot against whooping cough, also called pertussis, during pregnancy don’t increase their risk of having a problem birth, scientists report in the November 12 JAMA.

Researchers analyzed the medical records of more than 123,000 women who gave birth from 2010 through late 2012. Women who had received the TDaP combination vaccination, which covers tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis, were no more likely to have preterm births or underweight babies than women who didn’t get the shot.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends the TDaP booster during the last couple of months of pregnancy, mainly because it bolsters a woman’s defense against pertussis and passes along some of that protection to her baby (SN: 4/19/2014, p. 22). Newborns are otherwise helpless against whooping cough because they are ineligible for the shot until they are 2 months old.  

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