What is whooping cough?
Whooping cough is a bacterial infection caused by the bacteria Bordetella pertussis. It is highly contagious and transmitted through coughing and sneezing. Whooping cough is particularly dangerous for newborns. Vaccination against whooping cough during pregnancy is recommended to protect the mother and her newborn baby from the disease.
What are the symptoms of whooping cough?
Whooping cough initially presents with symptoms resembling those of a common cold, such as nasal congestion, runny nose, sneezing, fever, and occasional coughing. As the infection progresses, the cough becomes more intense, leading to uncontrollable bouts of coughing. These bouts may be accompanied by vomiting, choking, or a distinct “whooping” sound. In bad cases, newborns may cease breathing and turn blue.
Is the whooping cough vaccine safe during pregnancy?
Yes, the whooping cough vaccine is considered safe for pregnant women. Numerous studies have shown that the vaccine is not associated with an increased risk of adverse outcomes, such as stillbirth or birth defects. In fact, getting vaccinated during pregnancy can protect the mother and her foetus from serious complications associated with whooping cough.
Is the vaccine effective at preventing whooping cough in newborns?
Yes, the vaccine is highly effective at preventing whooping cough in newborns. When a pregnant woman receives the vaccine, her body produces antibodies that are transferred to her baby, providing protection against whooping cough in the first few months of life. Studies show that the vaccine reduces the risk of whooping cough in newborns by over 90%.
Some more Queries..
When should the vaccine be given during pregnancy?
The whooping cough vaccine is recommended as a single dose between 20 and 32 weeks of pregnancy. This allows enough time for the mother’s body to produce antibodies that can be transferred to the baby before birth. However, the vaccine can be given anytime during pregnancy if necessary.
How is the vaccine given during pregnancy?
It is given as an injection into the muscle of the upper arm. It is a single-dose vaccine, meaning only one injection is needed during each pregnancy. It is recommended your baby have booster shots at 2 months (can be given as early as 6 weeks), 4 months, and 6 months of age.
Are there any side effects of the vaccine for pregnant women?
Yes. Like all other vaccines, the whooping cough vaccine can cause side effects such as pain, redness, swelling, headache, fatigue, and muscle aches. Most side effects are mild and disappear on their own after a few days.
Are there any risks to the developing foetus from the vaccine?
No, there is no evidence that the whooping cough vaccine poses a risk to the developing foetus. Studies have shown that the vaccine does not increase the risk of stillbirth, birth defects, or other adverse outcomes.
Can the whooping cough vaccine be given at the same time as other vaccines, such as the flu vaccine?
Yes, the whooping cough vaccine can be safely administered simultaneously with other vaccines, like flu and COVID. In fact, getting vaccinated against multiple diseases during pregnancy can provide greater protection for both the mother and the baby.
Is the vaccine free for pregnant women?
Yes, the whooping cough vaccine is provided free of charge to pregnant women. Your GP can organise the vaccine for you.
Do other family members need to be vaccinated against whooping cough if the mother has been vaccinated during pregnancy?
While the most important person in the family to be vaccinated is the mother during pregnancy, other family members can also benefit from vaccination. Vaccinating other family members reduces the risk of whooping cough being brought into the home, further protecting the newborn baby. If your partner, parents, close friends, etc., have not been vaccinated for whooping cough in the last 5 years, it is recommended they have a booster.
Are there any reasons why a pregnant woman should not receive the whooping cough vaccine?
The whooping cough vaccine is generally considered safe for most pregnant women. However, there are some cases when a woman may not be able to receive the vaccine. For example, if she has had a severe allergic reaction to a previous dose or if she is currently experiencing a high fever.