Pregnancy and Protecting Your Newbown

How can I protect my baby’s future?

During pregnancy, many women focus on being healthy. Another way to get ready for your baby is to make sure you are up-to-date on your vaccines (shots). Whooping cough (pertussis) is just one deadly disease your baby can catch.

In childhood, you and your family members may have received vaccines to prevent pertussis.1 The protection from these vaccines does not last a lifetime. A tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis (Tdap) booster vaccine is needed.2

For teens and adults, pertussis can:

  • Look like the common cold.
  • Show up as a cough that gets worse, especially at night.
  • Last many weeks.

By the time a person knows he has pertussis, the germs may have spread to anywhere he has coughed or sneezed.

Pertussis spreads from close contact indoors, such as with people who live in the same home. Between 2000 and 2006, studies found that 75 percent of babies younger than 6 months of age with pertussis got it from someone in their home. 3

Babies with pertussis could:

  • Stop breathing.
  • Turn blue.
  • Have a seizure.

Babies younger than 6 months of age are more likely to have severe problems from pertussis. A baby with pertussis can get sick quickly. The child should go to the hospital right away.

Between 2000 and 2006, 93 percent of the deaths from pertussis were in babies younger than 1 year. Work with your doctor to protect your baby.



1 Five doses of the diphtheria, tetanus and acellular pertussis (DTaP) vaccine are recommended at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 12 to 15 months, and 4 to 6 years of age.  
2 Two tetanus toxoid-diphtheria-acellular pertussis (Tdap) booster vaccines were licensed in 2005 for use in adolescents and adults for protection against pertussis starting at age 11. One dose of Tdap is recommended in place of the tetanus-diphtheria (Td) booster.
3 “Prevention of Pertussis, Tetanus, and Diphtheria among Pregnant and Postpartum Women and Their Infants.” Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. May 14, 2008 / 57(Early Release); 1-47.