Moms Needs The Whooping Cough Shot, Too!

As a mom with two young kids, there is one TV commercial that really scares me -- the one where a mom is holding her coughing baby. Why is that so scary?

sick baby girl

Because it's about moms putting their babies at risk of pertussis (aka whooping cough)… not by not having their children vaccinated with the pertussis shot (called DTap) but by not getting vaccinated themselves.

What is pertussis?

Pertussis or whooping cough is caused by a bacteria called Bordetella pertussis. It is super contagious, but luckily, the vaccine is available for all ages though out the country and is very effective.

What is DTaP?

The infant pertussis shot is called DTaP and given in three phases at ages 2, 4, and 6 months of age. A fourth shot is given between baby's 15th and 18th month of life.

Why you need the shot too

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), mothers need to get the vaccine because they are often the ones that pass the disease onto baby: "When the source of whooping cough was identified, mothers were responsible for 30-40% of infant infections (Bisgard, 2004 & Wendelboe, 2007)."

That's because mom is usually the ones holding, snuggle and nursing baby and the disease is spread through close contact. Even though Mom may not even know she has the bacteria, she can pass it onto baby.

Prevent whooping cough in mom and baby

To prevent pertussis, pregnant women can even get the Tdap vaccine late in their pregnancy or after they've delivered baby. Talk to you doctor right away about getting the vaccine to protect your baby… and yourself from whooping cough.

As a mom I know there is nothing worse than a sick child. So if there is any part I can take in preventing my children from getting a disease (especially from me, their own mom!), I'm definitely going to take it.

More on baby's health

The importance of DHA during pregnancy and breastfeeding
Baby and toddler health issues you can treat yourself at home
Baby health tip: Keep a medication log

Tags: vaccinations

recommended for you