Whooping Cough

What is Pertussis commonly known as Whooping Cough?
Pertussis is a bacterial infection that affects the lungs and airways. Babies less than 6 months old may not be strong enough to make the whooping sound synonymous with Pertussis. Baby may gag or gasp for air which sometimes is confused with croup.

Symptoms are your baby showing signs of a cold or flu. If after a week or two, baby will start having intense coughing fits, where secretions may be produced. This may lead to vomiting. It is very distressing for you and to baby so see your GP immediately. Untreated, complications can occur such as weight loss, kidney failure, dehydration, pneumonia, low blood pressure. It is a very serious disease.

Get the Whooping Cough Vaccine While You Are Pregnant
This disease is highly contagious so it is recommended that you have the Whooping Cough Vaccine during your third trimester as the vaccine is the best method of not getting the disease. It is recommended to have the vaccine even if you have had it previously.

Will having the Whooping Cough vaccine while pregnant pass protection to your baby?
After receiving the vaccine, your body will create antibodies to fight off diseases and will pass these antibodies to your developing baby.
These protective antibodies are at their peak about 2 weeks after the vaccination therefore getting the vaccine between Week 28 to Week 36 is optimum to give your baby protection when born.

Do you need the whooping cough vaccine during each of your pregnancies?
You will need to have the Whooping Cough vaccine in each pregnancy. Antibodies against whooping cough decrease over time so will not protect subsequent pregnancies.

Does breastfeeding pass some protective antibodies onto your baby?
While breastfeeding does protect many babies against many diseases, Whooping Cough is not one of them.

Immunisation is the only protection available.