Pregnant mothers who are given the Tdap vaccine do not face a higher risk of having offspring with an abnormally small head (microcephaly) or other birth defects.
The Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis) vaccine is typically taken by mothers who hope to pass on their immunity to their unborn child. Since 2011, the vaccine has been recommended for pregnant women nationwide.
If mom’s don’t receive the vaccine, their child can’t be vaccinated until 2 months old. And until they do, they have a risk of contracting pertussis, better known as whooping cough.
Researchers examined the records of more than 300,000 births and compared who received the vaccination and those who didn’t. Their analysis showed that maternal Tdap was not significantly associated with an increased risk for microcephaly for vaccinations given at less than 14 weeks’ gestation, between 27 and 36 weeks’ gestation, or during any week of pregnancy, they reported in JAMA.
The researchers said that their research supports the recommendation that pregnant women should receive the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy.