May 5, 2016
newborns from two serious, possibly deadly illnesses — whooping cough (or
pertussis) and flu — starts with Mom before baby is born. As we honor moms this
Mother’s Day, the physicians of the Texas Medical Association (TMA) urge
pregnant moms and moms-to-be to get recommended shots to protect themselves and
vaccinated during pregnancy, moms can pass illness-fighting immunity on to
their babies,” said R. Moss Hampton, MD, Midland, an obstetrician-gynecologist.
“Newborns can’t get their whooping cough and flu shots until they are a few
months old, so mom’s shots help baby fight off these illnesses.”
Whooping cough is especially dangerous for infants
younger than 1 year of age. It is highly contagious, and the Texas Department
of State Health Services says more than half of babies less than a year old with
pertussis must be hospitalized. Many will have serious complications, like
pneumonia or apnea (slowed or stopped breathing), and some become so sick they
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends women get the Tdap
vaccination (a combination vaccination that protects against tetanus,
diphtheria, and pertussis) during each pregnancy. While the vaccination may be
given any time during pregnancy, CDC suggests pregnant moms receive it between
27 and 36 weeks of gestation, or during the third trimester.
mom provides double protection, said Dr. Hampton, a member of TMA’s Be Wise — ImmunizeSM
Physician Advisory Panel. “Mom is less likely to
catch and pass whooping cough on to her baby, and baby is protected until he or
she has had all whooping cough shots, which occurs around 18 months of age.”
The same is
true of mom’s flu shot, which she can get anytime during pregnancy: It provides
protection both to her and to the baby. Flu is dangerous for both
pregnant women and babies. It can put pregnant women in the hospital or even
kill them, and babies too. Expectant moms with flu also have more risk of
problems for their unborn baby, including early labor and delivery. Because
babies can’t get their flu shot until they are 6 months old, mom’s flu vaccine helps
pass on protection to the little one.
advice does not pertain just to mom, though. Because babies can catch pertussis
from anyone near them, physicians
recommend all those who will come into contact with the baby be up to date on
their whooping cough vaccination, including parents,
siblings, grandparents, childcare providers, and health care workers.
For the best
protection, CDC recommends family members get the pertussis shot at least two
weeks before they have contact with the baby. And because babies don’t always
arrive on their due date, getting vaccinated a few weeks before the anticipated
birth is best, said Dr. Hampton.
Flu, too, is
passed easily from person to person. CDC recommends flu shots each year for
anyone over 6 months of age, so that means all family members and caregivers
should be vaccinated for flu, as well.
pregnant, physicians recommend you ask your doctor about Tdap and flu shots. TMA published a whooping cough
infographic and whooping cough fact sheet, in
English and Spanish. TMA also has a flu
infographic and flu
fact sheet in English and Spanish.
TMA is the largest state medical society in the nation,
representing more than 49,000 physician and medical student members. It is
located in Austin and has 110 component county medical societies around the
state. TMA’s key objective since 1853 is to improve the health of all Texans.
TMA actively works to
improve immunization rates in Texas through its
Be Wise — Immunize program. Be Wise works with local communities to give free
and low-cost shots to Texans and educate people about the importance of
vaccination. More than 300,000 shots have been given to Texas children,
adolescents, and adults through the Be Wise program since 2004.
Wise — Immunize is a service mark of the Texas Medical Association.
Contact: Brent Annear (512) 370-1381; cell: (512) 656-7320; email: brent.annear[at]texmed[dot]org
Marcus Cooper (512) 370-1382; cell: (512)
650-5336; email: marcus.cooper[at]texmed[dot]org
to follow TMA on Twitter. Or
visit TMA on Facebook.
Check out MeAndMyDoctor.com for interesting
and timely news on health care issues and policy.