Want to seriously slash your little one's chances of developing whooping cough? There's one simple thing you can do.
Whooping cough can be dangerous for young babies—especially in the first two months of life, before they can receive their first DTaP vaccination. That's why so many doctors encourage parents-to-be and other loved ones to get booster shots to reduce the risk of exposure for infants. But there's another very important reason for you to get the vaccine while you're pregnant: Recent research suggests that taking a DTaP vaccination during pregnancy—even if you've already had the shot earlier in life—could seriously reduce your baby's risk of developing the illness.
Researchers observed nearly 149,000 infants born in California between 2006 and 2015 to come to this finding, which was published in Pediatrics. Less than 1 percent of the mothers who gave birth between 2006 and 2008 had been vaccinated, and that rate rose to about 87 percent among women birth by 2015. The CDC issued a recommendation that pregnant women ought to take the DTaP shot even if they'd been vaccinated before pregnancy in 2013, which can explain why the rate skyrocketed during this period.
According to the researchers' findings, babies born to mothers who had been vaccinated during pregnancy reduced their risk of developing whooping cough in the first two months of life by 91 percent. They also had a 69 percent reduction in risk of developing the illness during the first year.
"The results of this study demonstrate that maternal DTaP administered during pregnancy provides the best protection against pertussis, which strongly supports ACIP's current recommendation to administer DTaP during each pregnancy," says study senior author Nicola Klein, according to a release for the news.