Protecting your baby from Whooping Cough

Whooping cough is a bacterial infection of the lungs and airways. It spreads very easily through coughing and sneezing and can sometimes cause serious health problems, especially in young babies.

Whooping cough is highly infectious and is currently on the increase, and babies who are too young to start their vaccinations are at greatest risk of contracting the illness.

Young babies with whooping cough are often very unwell and most will be admitted to hospital because of their illness. When whooping cough is particularly severe, it can lead to complications, and in some in the most severe cases, death.

Pregnant women can help protect their babies by getting vaccinated – ideally from 16 weeks up to 32 weeks pregnant. If for any reason you miss having the vaccine, you can still have it up until you go into labour.

Mums-to-be can contact their midwife or GP surgery if they have reached week 20 of their pregnancy and are unsure whether they have had the vaccine.

After the vaccine your body will produce antibodies and this immunity is passed onto your baby through the placenta. This will protect your baby until they are old enough to be routinely vaccinated against whooping cough at two months old.

If you’re pregnant, it’s important to take up the Pertussis vaccine when offered. It helps protect your baby in their first weeks of life.

You can read more information about the Whooping Cough vaccination in pregnancy here.

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