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Pregnant? Get Tdap in Your Third Trimester

Man and woman's hands on pregnant woman's stomach making shape of heartOnly you can give your baby protection against whooping cough before your little one is even born. Talk to your doctor or midwife about getting the Tdap vaccine during your third trimester.

Whooping cough is a serious disease that can be deadly for babies. Unfortunately, babies can't get vaccinated and start building protection against whooping cough until they are two months old. The good news is that you can avoid this gap in protection by getting the whooping cough vaccine (called Tdap) during the third trimester of your pregnancy. By doing so, you pass antibodies to your baby before birth. These antibodies help protect your baby in the first few months of life.

You Need Whooping Cough Vaccine during Each Pregnancy

Pregnant woman with child and husband

If you are pregnant, you'll need the whooping cough vaccine in your third trimester.

CDC recommends pregnant women get the Tdap vaccine between 27 and 36 weeks of each pregnancy. This recommendation is supported by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American College of Nurse-Midwives, healthcare professionals who specialize in caring for pregnant women. The goal is to give babies some short-term protection against whooping cough in early life.

The amount of antibodies you have from the whooping cough vaccine will decrease over time. That is why it's important for pregnant women to get a whooping cough vaccine during each pregnancy so that each baby has the benefit of getting high levels of protective antibodies. Getting the Tdap vaccine while pregnant is the best way to help protect your baby from whooping cough in the first few months of life.

Tdap during Pregnancy Is Safe for Your Baby

Getting the whooping cough vaccine while you are pregnant is very safe for you and your unborn baby. The most common side effects include redness, swelling, pain, and tenderness where the shot is given, body-ache, fatigue, or fever. Severe side effects are extremely rare. You cannot get whooping cough from the whooping cough vaccine. Learn more about safety and side effects.

Whooping Cough Is Making a Comeback

Whooping cough is a very contagious illness that is on the rise. In 2012, the United States experienced a 60-year record high number of cases and we expect this trend to continue.

There are many factors contributing to this increase, but one key reason is that today's vaccines, while safe and effective, do not last as long as we would like. However, getting vaccinated is still the best way to prevent whooping cough and its complications.

View the latest U.S. whooping cough numbers.

Young Babies Are at Highest Risk

When babies—even healthy babies—catch whooping cough, the symptoms can be very serious because their immune systems are still developing. They can get pneumonia (a lung infection), and many have trouble breathing.

About half of babies who get whooping cough end up in the hospital. The younger the baby is when he gets whooping cough, the more likely it is that he will need to be treated in the hospital. Every year in the United States babies die from whooping cough, with most deaths in those too young to be protected by their own whooping cough vaccine.

More Information

More Information

California Whooping Cough Epidemic, 2014

Clip art graphic of California state

See California's latest numbers of reported cases and deaths.

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