(KUTV) Tetanus and diphtheria can be deadly to a pregnant woman and can result in loss of the pregnancy.
Pertussis, or whooping cough, can cause severe illness and death in babies. The Pregnancy Risk Line recommends all pregnant women have a combined tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis (Tdap) and flu vaccine during pregnancy to protect the mother and baby.
Women can have the Tdap and flu vaccines at any time during pregnancy. Previous and current studies have not found increased risk of birth defects or poor outcomes during pregnancy from the vaccines, http://www.mothertobaby.org/fact-sheets-p135727
. If it’s not possible to get these immunizations during pregnancy then it’s recommended to get them as soon as possible postpartum. The Tdap and flu vaccines do not affect the safety of breastfeeding. In fact, protective antibodies from the mother pass to the baby during breastfeeding.
Studies are showing that simply having the Tdap and flu vaccines sometime as adult is not enough. New 2013 guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians & Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend pregnant women receive a booster of Tdap and flu vaccine during each pregnancy. They also recommend family members and caregivers be immunized to prevent the infant from possible exposure.
Some women are concerned about the preservative thimerosal. Thimerosal, which contains mercury, is used in a very small amount to keep multi-dose vials fresh. A great deal of research has been done on vaccines and thimerosal and the studies have shown no increase in birth defects or other poor outcomes for pregnant women and children. If women are concerned, they can request a single-dose vaccine without the preservative.
Help protect yourself and your baby by having the Tdap and flu vaccine in each pregnancy. To find the vaccine near you or for more information, call the Pregnancy Risk Line at 801-328-2229 or toll free at 800-822-2229 or visit the website at www.pregnancyriskline.org
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