Are you aware of Pertussis and its prevention in newborns?

Are you aware of Pertussis and its prevention in newborns?

A lady starts planning for her bundle of joy since the day she conceives. I’ve seen the most carefree ladies (read myself) turning into complete helicopter mommies after the little one arrives…

I still remember the time I got to know I am expecting my first baby, the first thing I did was to research about everything. From which is the best position to sleep during pregnancy, what I need to eat, what exercises I need to do, you name it, and I was searching for ways to do what is best for my baby.

My first pregnancy was quite uneventful, no major problems and all reports were normal. I listened to what my doctor had to say about different diseases I was at risk for and duly got vaccinated as per her recommendation. Everything had to be just perfect. I was satisfied with all the information I had but like they say, you cannot know everything. When I conceived a second time, I thought I knew most of the things to sail through. Boy, was I wrong!!

What I had completely missed out in my first pregnancy was a conversation around an important disease Pertussis and how I can protect my newborn.

Pertussis, more commonly known as whooping cough, is a highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the bacterium Bordetella Pertussis. It is known for an uncontrollable coughing fit, which results in difficulty in breathing. After the coughing fit, usually long breaths are taken, resulting in “whooping sounds” and hence the name. Though it can affect people of all ages it can be extremely serious in newborn infants leading to complications like hospitalization. Since the disease spreads through the air, it can be caught easily. Newborns are much more prone to getting the infection from their siblings and parents (especially mothers) who might not even know that they have pertussis.

Pertussis can cause serious complications in newborn infants; the babies may turn blue due to difficulty in breathing and might even need to be cared for in the hospital. The coughing might last for a month or two and sometimes although the cough might not really be noticeable, there might be periods when the baby stops breathing.

During my online research I came across various ways to prevent pertussis in newborns which included avoiding close contact with infected persons & improved hand hygiene. Surprisingly, one of the ways to prevent pertussis is vaccination of caregivers, close contacts including the mother during or post pregnancy.

The next question that came to my mind was do I really need to vaccinate myself especially since my baby will get vaccines against serious diseases like pertussis, diphtheria and tetanus starting 6 weeks of age?

This is what I understood, while the baby will get vaccinated at 6 weeks,  there are chances the baby may catch the infection during those 6 weeks. Pertussis vaccination during pregnancy could help pass on the protection against this serious disease from me to my baby while still in the womb.

Now that I am preparing for my second baby, I will remember to talk to my gynecologist about pertussis disease and vaccination in my next appointment. I am hoping to get clarity on all these questions related to pertussis and vaccination during pregnancy. What else would a mother want except for her  baby to be healthy……. right?

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Disclaimer: A public awareness initiative by GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceuticals Limited. Dr. Annie Besant Road, Worli, Mumbai 400 030, India. For general awareness only. Nothing contained in this material constitutes medical advice. Please consult your medical practitioner for all medical queries. 

NP-IN-PTX-PSP-190001 , DOP: Sep’19

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