Effectiveness of the Whooping Cough Vaccine during Pregnancy

Mother and father with two children sitting outside.

You help protect your baby from whooping cough by getting the whooping cough vaccine called Tdap during pregnancy.

Babies whose mothers get Tdap during pregnancy are less likely to get whooping cough

A CDC evaluation* found Tdap vaccination during the third trimester of pregnancy prevents more than 3 in 4 cases of whooping cough in babies younger than 2 months old. These findings are similar to other studies showing Tdap vaccination during pregnancy is highly effective in protecting babies until they are old enough to start getting their own pertussis vaccines at 2 months old.

Getting Tdap during pregnancy also helps protect babies from serious complications

For babies who do get whooping cough, the infection is typically less serious if their mother received Tdap during pregnancy. A CDC evaluation found Tdap during the third trimester of pregnancy protected 9 in 10 babies from infections serious enough to need treatment in a hospital. A study in California looked at the type and length of hospital stays for babies with whooping cough. Babies whose mothers received Tdap during pregnancy were less likely to need care in a hospital or intensive care unit. They also had shorter hospital stays compared to babies born to mothers who did not get Tdap during pregnancy.

Learn more about getting the whooping cough vaccine while pregnant.



*CDC. Impact of the US maternal tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis vaccination program on preventing pertussis in infants <2 months of age: a case-control evaluation. Clinical Infectious Diseases, 28 Sep 2017, cix724, https://academic.oup.com/cid/article/65/12/1977/4237166.

Page last reviewed: September 28, 2017