Imagine, you have just confirmed the fact that you are pregnant and you are over the top excited. There’s a doctor’s appointment lined up and you are now thinking about switching to a balanced diet and leading an active lifestyle to have a healthier lifestyle for you and your baby.
That’s already a lot of changes to one’s life, right? What if we told you there’s more to come? While curating a healthy diet and exercise routine is quintessential, you can’t deny the fact that preventive medical care during pregnancy is equally important.
This includes a list of routine tests and also a series of vaccinations you need to get done on time. Amidst all, the TDAP vaccine in pregnancy is a very crucial one. The administration of vaccines during pregnancy is often questioned but the TDAP vaccine is beneficial for the well-being of both the mother and the developing baby.
This article we will explore all that you need to know about the TDAP vaccine, its implications, benefits, and also the associated risks.
In this Article
- 1 What is the TDAP Vaccine?
- 2 Why should you get a TDAP Vaccine during Pregnancy?
- 3 When is the right time to get the TDAP Vaccine during Pregnancy?
- 4 What are the Benefits of TDAP Vaccine?
- 5 What are the Risks or Side Effects of the TDAP vaccine?
- 6 FAQs
- 7 Conclusion
What is the TDAP Vaccine?
TDAP stands for tetanus, Diptheria and acellular pertussis. So, naturally, the TDAP vaccine is an immunization for the mother and the baby against these infections and fatal diseases.
Administration of the vaccine prevents the risks of deadly infections like tetanus, whooping cough, lockjaw, etc. in both the mother and the baby, during or after the pregnancy.
The TDAP vaccine is typically a “booster” vaccine, meaning that it’s administered to individuals who have had the immunization shot beforehand. Administration of the booster dose provides improved protection against infections.
Why should you get a TDAP Vaccine during Pregnancy?
The concept of vaccinations and pregnancy is already met with a lot of controversies. People have mixed opinions about vaccinations during pregnancy, thinking that it might alter the well-being of the developing fetus, which isn’t the case for the TDAP vaccine.
Newborn babies have a very weakened and underdeveloped immune system and can’t protect themselves naturally against infections like whooping cough, which impose a lot of fatal risks on their life.
The reason why expecting mothers are advised to get the TDAP injection in pregnancy is to produce enough antibodies, which are then passed on to the developing fetus. Having access to these antibodies in the newborns protects them against these fatal diseases for the first few months after their birth, until they are ready to get their immunization shots.
Since newborns are at heightened risks of contracting pertussis after birth (especially from their mother), having a protective barrier with the TDAP vaccine helps them overcome the symptoms and fight through the disease.
When is the right time to get the TDAP Vaccine during Pregnancy?
Following the administration of the TDAP vaccine, it takes around two weeks for the body to develop the required load of antibodies. These antibodies are then passed on to the fetus via the placenta.
So, naturally, pregnant women get their TDAP vaccine during the third trimester, specifically between 27-36 weeks of gestation.
Most doctors will tell you to get the vaccine before delivering the baby and at least two weeks before delivery to ensure that the baby is born with the antibodies, they need to fight off any potential infections.
It is possible to pass the antibodies to the newborn via breastfeeding, but then again, it isn’t as efficient and foolproof. Hence, getting the vaccine during the third trimester provides the baby with the best shot of getting the antibodies it needs to ward off infections.
Also, immunization against whooping cough isn’t effective for a lifetime. This means that you might have to get a booster shot every 10 years to replenish the antibodies in your body against potential infections.
Your doctor might also suggest getting the TDAP vaccine for each pregnancy, especially if they are spaced out between three to four years. Getting the vaccine 2-3 times in a few years is safe and doesn’t impose any health risks on the mother.
What are the Benefits of TDAP Vaccine?
The primary benefit of getting the boostrix injection for pregnancy is to protect the mother and the newborn baby against fatal infections like tetanus, pertussis, or whooping cough.
Since newborns are born with an underdeveloped immune system, the vaccine produces peak levels of antibodies in the mother, which are then passed to the baby to protect them for the first few months after their birth.
What are the Risks or Side Effects of the TDAP vaccine?
The TDAP vaccine doesn’t impose any life-threatening risk to the mother or the baby. Even the post-immunization symptoms are mild to non-existent.
Some women complain about:
- Body aches
- Swelling or redness around the injection site
Remember that these minor symptoms are often short-lived and temporary. They stay around for a day or two, following which the body starts preparing the antibodies, which keep the mother and the baby safe against any potential harm.
One common myth that prevents many pregnant women from getting the TDAP vaccine is thinking that it will cause whooping cough or lockjaw. That’s not the case at all. The vaccine contains an inactivated form of the bacteria, which triggers the mother’s immune system to form antibodies against the virus.
So, if you are questioning the safety of the TDAP vaccine during pregnancy, it is 100% safe.
What are some other vaccinations administered during pregnancy?
Besides the TDAP vaccine, other immunization shots include the flu vaccine.
Which vaccines aren’t safe during pregnancy?
Vaccines for HPV, measles, mumps, rubella, live influenza vaccines, chicken pox vaccines, etc. aren’t safe during pregnancy.
Will vaccination during pregnancy harm the baby?
TDAP vaccine and flu vaccine are considered safe for administration during pregnancy. However, live vaccines are harmful and impose potential dangers on the developing baby.
Administration of boostrix injection in pregnancy is safe and nothing that you need to worry about. However, the timing of the immunization makes a huge difference. You want to ensure that you are getting it with at least two weeks to your labor and delivery so that the antibodies are successfully passed to the baby. We hope this article gives you all the details about the TDAP vaccine and its significance. If you are still skeptical, discuss your options at length with your OBGYN.