According to a report recently released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, millions of pregnant women in the United States are not getting their flu shots and TdAP shots. Only 35 percent of all pregnant women receive both shots. A little more than 50 percent of all pregnant women receive one of the shots. Pregnant women should get these vaccines not only to protect their own health, but also that of their unborn babies.
Importance of the Flu Shot
The influenza flu vaccine should be given during pregnancy to protect the mother and her child from the flu. Studies indicate that vaccination reduces the chance of a pregnant woman suffering from influenza-related acute respiratory infection by 50 percent.
Pregnant and postpartum women are more likely than other women to suffer from severe illness due to influenza. The reason for this is that pregnancy induces changes in the heart, lungs, and the immune system. These changes make pregnant women far more susceptible to severe illness from the flu. The flu shot will reduce the chance of a pregnant woman having to go to the hospital due to the flu by about 40 percent.
Also, pregnant women are protecting their newborns when they get the flu shot during pregnancy. During the first few months of life, newborn infants are too young to receive the influenza flu vaccination. The pregnant woman’s body will produce antibodies against the flu. These antibodies will be passed to the newborn and will serve as protection against the flu for the child until he or she is old enough to receive the flu shot.
It is recommended that women receive the flu shot during which ever trimester that coincides with the flu season.
Importance of the TdAP Shot
Pertussis, also referred to as whooping cough, is a very contagious respiratory tract infection. One of the most distinct symptoms of this disease is a hacking cough that is followed by an intake of breath. The sound of this inhalation is high-pitched and makes a “whoop” sound. The TdAP shot protects against whooping cough.
All pregnant women should receive the TdAP shot during their third trimester. The optimal time to receive the the TdA Pshot is between 28 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. Getting the TdAP shot during this period of time will maximize the amount of protection the newborn receives against disease. When pregnant women get this shot, their body will produce antibodies against pertussis. These antibodies will be passed from the pregnant woman to the unborn child. These antibodies will help protect your newborn against pertussis until they start getting vaccines at the age of two months.
This vaccine is considered the safest and most effective way to prevent pertussis, or whooping cough, in pregnant women and their babies. The TdAP shot also offers protection against tetanus and diphtheria. Women should get the TdAP shot each time they are pregnant.
Women who did not receive the TdAP shot during their pregnancy should get it at soon as possible after birth or prior to leaving the hospital. This will reduce the risk of the woman passing the whooping cough illness to their child. However, the newborn will still be susceptible to catching the illness from other people. The newborn will not be able to receive the whooping cough vaccine before they reach 2 months of age.
It is recommended that anyone who will come into contact with your newborn baby should also get the flu shot and TdAP shot.
For more information about the importance of getting a flu shot and TdAP shots when pregnant, please contact Dr. Kristine Eule at Denver Tech Center OBGYN 303-770-0665.