“The [study] only looked at the mother, partner and grandparent, but CDC recommends that anyone who is around a newborn should get Tdap. This includes the mother while she is pregnant, her partner, grandparents and other relatives who will be in close contact with the baby, healthcare providers, and other caregivers,” Liang says. While you might be nervous about getting a vaccine while you’re pregnant, Liang says Tdap is perfectly safe for mother and baby.
“Experts have studied Tdap vaccine for adolescents and adults and they have concluded that it is very safe for pregnant women and their unborn babies. Among women who have already received Tdap during pregnancy, none have reported any safety concerns, and there is no evidence of risk to mom or baby,” she says. However, possible side effects include redness, swelling, pain, and tenderness where the shot is given, and body reactions like body-ache, fatigue, or fever.
Pertussis is spread from person to person, usually by coughing or sneezing while in close contact with others. It is known as “whooping cough” because of the "whooping" sound that is made when gasping for air after a fit of coughing, but in infants, the cough can be minimal or not even there. You can “hear the sound” of pertussis by clicking on the icon on the right-hand side of the Sounds of Pertussis website.
Liang is happy that celebs like Gellar are working to raise awareness of the dangers of pertussis, and the importance of vaccination.
“We hope that all pregnant women and their healthcare providers become aware of the Tdap recommendation so we can save as many babies as possible from this terrible infection,” she says.
Learn more about pertussis (whooping cough), from the CDC (Centers for Disease Control).