A study recently published in Pediatrics showed that pregnant women who receive the Tdap vaccination protect their babies against whooping cough (pertussis), especially in the first two months of life. The study strongly supports the CDC’s recommendation that pregnant women receive Tdap.
“We have widespread pertussis throughout the U.S. — tens of thousands of cases every year,” said Dr. Gregory Poland, director of the Mayo Clinic Vaccine Research Group. “When a newborn baby gets pertussis, about 1 percent of them die. About 50 percent of them end up in the hospital with serious complications. What the study found is that 90 percent of these babies were fully protected … in that newborn time period, which is the riskiest time period.”
However, in 2015 — the most recent year for which data is available — less than half of all pregnant women nationwide got the vaccine.
The March of Dimes makes these key points about vaccinations and pregnancy:
- Vaccinations can help protect you and your baby from certain infections during pregnancy.
- Vaccinations you get during pregnancy help keep your baby safe from infection during the first few months of life until he gets his own vaccinations.
- Not all vaccinations are safe to get during pregnancy. Talk to your health care provider to make sure any vaccination you get is safe.
- Make sure your vaccinations are up to date before you get pregnant.
Below are some helpful handouts and resources from the CDC to help raise awareness of maternal and childhood vaccines. For more resources see our post about National Immunization Awareness Month and the CDC’s Resources for Educating Pregnant Women. Also see the FDA’s responses to frequently asked questions about vaccine ingredients.
| Schedule of Recommended Immunizations for Children (birth – 6 yrs)
This chart helps parents stay on schedule with their children’s immunizations. Also see the Immunizations and Developmental Milestones Tracker and the personalized Childhood Vaccine Assessment Tool (also available in Spanish).
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