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CDC Warns Not Enough Pregnant Women Are Getting Their Flu & Whooping Cough Shots

The flu shot and the Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, also known as whooping cough) vaccination are both routine parts of prenatal care, but for some reason, most women are not getting either done.

During pregnancy, there are certain vaccines a woman is meant to get done. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Tdap shot and the flu shot are two such vaccines.

Pregnant women will want to protect themselves against getting the flu, which could be disastrous to their health and put the pregnancy at risk. But there is more behind the CDD's recommendations.

Young infants (under six months of age) cannot get a flu shot because their small and underdeveloped bodies cannot handle the vaccine's risks. However, there is a way to protect them. This is very important because infants are at risk of death from the flu, seeing as they are so vulnerable.

Doctor vaccinating young pregnant woman
Credit: iStock

When a pregnant woman gets vaccinated, antibodies pass to the fetus. This protects the baby from the flu or other infections  (such astetanus, diphtheria, and pertussis, or Tdap) after birth. So while you cannot vaccinate a tiny infant, you can vaccinate an unborn baby, and that immunity will last them until after they are born.

READ MORE: Pregnant Mothers Can Prevent Fetal Brain Problems Caused By The Flu

The CDC recently surveyed parents and the results show that most expecting women are not getting its recommended vaccinations. The numbers were not so bad when the shots were looked at individually: 54 percent of pregnant women reported getting a flu vaccine before or during pregnancy and 55 percent of women reported receiving Tdap (the whooping cough/pertussis vaccine) during pregnancy. However, combined, things looked a bit more worrisome: Only 35 percent of women surveyed received both vaccinations.

The data is concerning. If expecting mothers are not getting these shots done, a large number of them and their babies are at greater risk for infection, hospitalization, and possibly death.

If you have concerns about getting vaccinated while pregnant, talk to your doctor. In most cases, it is the best choice.

READ NEXT: When Should The Kids & I Get The Flu Shot?

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