Midwife Matters

Pregnancy preparations, women's health, and care options

Tdap Vaccine. Is It Really Safe To Get Vaccines During Pregnancy?

on April 23, 2013

Tdap is tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis (whooping cough) vaccine.  In 2012 there were 4125 cases in Minnesota. There were so many it was classified as an epidemic.  The Center for Disease Control and the Minnesota Department of Health recommends every pregnant woman get a Tdap every pregnancy.arm-shot


1. Because of the Pertussis epidemic.

2. Because it offers the best protection for your baby.

3. Because giving the vaccine during pregnancy gets antibodies to your baby.

A recent letter from nine organizations in Minnesota including:  MN Department of Health, MN College of OB/GYN, MN Assoc of Pediatrics, MN Perinatal Organization, MN Nurse Midwives, MN OB and Neonatal Nurses and the MN Medical
Association state the following:

Women should receive Tdap vaccine during every pregnancy. 

Ninety percent of pertussis deaths are in infants younger than four months. Giving Tdap vaccine during pregnancy prompts prenatal transfer of pertussis antibodies, protecting the newborn during his or her first months of life. It also prevents post-partum transmission of maternal pertussis. Tdap is considered safe to give during pregnancy, regardless of the interval since the patient’s last tetanus booster or previous Tdap vaccination. The optimal window for administration is between 27 and 36 weeks’ gestation.

If a woman does not get the vaccine during pregnancy, the postpartum vaccine will offer some protection by not exposing the baby to Pertussis. The post partum vaccine will not offer the baby the important antibodies given through the vaccine during pregnancy.

Fathers, daycare providers, grandparents and other family who will be in close contact need one Tdap as an adult.  This is to prevent transmission to the baby.  They do not need one every pregnancy because they do not pass antibodies to the baby.

Please ask your provider about this important vaccine!

For more information please visit The Center for Disease Control and Prevention website.


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