Understanding the Dangers of A Tdap Vaccine During Pregnancy

a pregnant woman getting a tdap vaccine

If you’re pregnant, rejoice. You’ve taken the necessary steps to begin carrying a baby to term, and now you’re likely focusing on maintaining a healthy and manageable routine schedule for the sake of you and your child.

While you might focus on diet and exercise to prioritize wellbeing, you need to focus on preventative medicine like vitamins and immunizations.

One of the most common questions carrying mothers ask is, “what are the dangers of Tdap during pregnancy?”

Many doctors recommend Tdap vaccines during pregnancy to ensure the safety of the baby and the mother. But is there more you should consider?

As we’ll examine in this article, the Tdap vaccine generally proves safe, but that does not mean that some people don’t experience worrisome complications.

Read on to learn more about the dangers of Tdap during pregnancy and how it affects various stages of newborn development to see if the vaccine is suitable for you or worth abstaining from now.

The Tdap Vaccine

Tdap is an acronym for tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis. This booster vaccine protects you against lockjaw, tetanus, and pertussis and even provides you with whooping cough antibodies.

Doctors administer this shot to adults and children over ten who have previously received the DTaP vaccine.

Like other booster shots, this vaccine aims to boost or improve your resistance to these diseases by enhancing the earlier doses.

The DTaP Vaccine

hand holding a dtap vaccine

The similarly named DTaP vaccine is licensed for use in infants. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommends that all infants—without allergies or other complications to the vaccine—receive three doses administered during their first year of life, followed by boosters between 15 months and six years.

While this vaccine and booster combination will set your child up for a healthy life, medical professionals recommend that the mother not skip the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy.

The Dangers of Pertussis

Every disease under this umbrella is life-threatening at alarming rates. Complications and death come at a higher risk to young children and older adults, making it commonplace for new mothers to worry about the effects of the diseases on their newborns.

Whooping cough leads to severe coughing fits, making it hard for patients with the ailment to breathe, sometimes leading to seizures, brain damage, and even death.

Infants, in particular, are at higher risk for contracting pertussis and experiencing life-threatening situations. Over the last decade, cases have risen in the United States, increasing by over 18%.

Reasons To Get the Tdap Vaccine During Pregnancy

Unlike adults, newborns do not have the same resistance to rare diseases like whooping cough and cannot receive the proper vaccination until they reach two months.

Naturally, this puts them at higher risk of contracting these diseases and experiencing dangerous complications.

Despite the dangers of Tdap during pregnancy, the mother receiving the vaccine while carrying a child offers one of the few ways these newborns can gain protection against diphtheria, pertussis, and similar diseases.

For this reason, most doctors recommend getting the vaccine while pregnant to enhance the child’s resistance once they come to term. This gives them protective antibodies they would not naturally create.

In addition, getting the vaccine through you will prevent the baby from catching the disease from you.

Timing the Vaccine

doctor telling a pregnant woman about dangers of tdap vaccine

Getting the vaccine in a vacuum isn’t enough to prevent the dangers of Tdap during pregnancy; you have to time the vaccine within the first 27–36 weeks of gestation or the third trimester.

Part of this plays into the vaccine releasing the highest antibodies two weeks after receiving it.

Alternatively, mothers can pass the antibodies to their children through breastmilk—again, most effective if you’re two weeks out from receiving the Tdap vaccine.

Waiting until after the baby arrives creates a two-week waiting period where the baby is not getting the highest amount of antibodies yet.

However, receiving the vaccine while pregnant allows you to start transmitting helpful antibodies immediately, protecting your child from the outset.

Regardless, some antibodies dissipate over time, like those for whooping cough. Most adults receive Tdap boosters every ten years due to doctors not knowing the specific amount of antibodies an adult needs to gain protection from pertussis.

Likewise, experts recommend the vaccine for every pregnancy. In many instances, this leads to mothers receiving boosters multiple times within ten years.

Tdap Vaccine Risks and Benefits

There are few dangers of the Tdap vaccine during pregnancy, and in almost all cases, doctors will recommend you get the vaccine for the safety of you and your child.

Nonetheless, some side effects exist. While most effects are mild, that does not mean they won’t interfere with your routine, yet they tend to diminish after a few days.

Some side effects, injuries, and reactions include:

Side Effects

woman feeling fatigue while working on her desk

  •       Body aches
  •       Fatigue
  •       Fever
  •       Redness, swelling, and tenderness at the site of the vaccine injection

Injuries and Reactions

  •       SIRVA
  •       Breathing complications
  •       Strong allergic reaction
  •       Encephalopathy
  •       Loss of consciousness
  •       Long-term seizures
  •       Coma

Some of these result in milder reactions, and thankfully, those include the ones a typical patient will receive. However, the severe effects might cause some alarm, even if they happen rarely.

Always consult your doctor before getting a vaccine to avoid the dangers of Tdap during pregnancy.

Because the Tdap vaccine contains inactivated bacteria, expectant mothers face no risk for extreme complications like whooping cough or lockjaw. Instead, the vaccine activates your immune system, making it easier to identify foreign threats and develop the appropriate antibodies.

Only a few people have severe reactions to the vaccine—be sure to ask your doctor about your situation to ensure a smooth vaccination process.

Who Should Not Get the Tdap Vaccine?

To avoid the dangers of Tdap during pregnancy, anyone who has had a severe allergic reaction to singular diphtheria, tetanus, or pertussis-containing vaccine or has a known allergy to part of the vaccine should gain exemption.

If you fit this scenario, ask your doctor how to proceed so that you can still protect your child and yourself from the dangers of Tdap during pregnancy.

Likewise, you should avoid the vaccine if you have a history of prolonged, repeated seizures during the week after receiving a Tdap dose or previously entered a coma.

While other problems could have caused these, the vaccine can cause them, so always follow up with a doctor who can unearth the origin of the problem.

Discuss the Tdap vaccine further with your medical practitioner if:

  •       You feel unwell the day you will receive the Tdap vaccine
  •       You have a history of nervous-system problems or seizures
  •       You developed Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS) within six weeks of a Tdap dose
  •       You experienced severe pain or swelling after pertussis, diphtheria, or tetanus vaccine

Reporting Tdap Vaccine Reactions

woman telling a lawyer about the side effects of tdap vaccine that she is experiencing

While the side effects are relatively tame, some more severe injuries can occur if your body does not take the Tdap vaccine well.

We recommend that if you or a loved one becomes seriously injured, you reach out to a licensed attorney and report the event to the Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS).

This system assists the Department of Health and Human Services in collecting data on vaccine injuries and side effects but is not a compensation claim.

You could take a route to file a petition with the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program or seek legal advice.

Is It Safe To Get Vaccinated During Pregnancy?

Many new moms wonder about vaccines when considering the dangers of Tdap during pregnancy. However, the question is rather vague, as all vaccines are unique.

Carrying mothers should abstain from specific vaccines, as many can cause adverse side effects for the mother, child, or both.

Thankfully, the Tdap vaccine does not appear on the list of harmful vaccines. The Centers for Disease Control and the greater medical community regularly review safety studies to ensure mothers abstain from all vaccines that could complicate their pregnancies.

When Should You Get a Lawyer?

Your first step must be to file a report through VAERS. After that, you can immediately seek legal help. You will need an attorney licensed to perform by the United States Court of Federal Claims.

Unlike traditional trials, local or state courts cannot process vaccine injury cases. Instead, you need to abide by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. An experienced lawyer can easily walk you through the process.

Final Thoughts—the Dangers of Tdap During Pregnancy

pregnant woman in a red pale dress

The acellular pertussis Tdap vaccine does much good annually to keep mothers and their children safe. While we’ve discussed some of the real dangers of the vaccine, most side effects are either mild or uncommon.

Overall, it’s in a mother’s best interest to receive the appropriate vaccine and follow up with the DTaP vaccine for her child after birth.

Have you or a loved one become injured due to the Tdap or DTaP vaccines? Do you want to learn more about the dangers of Tdap during pregnancy before moving forward? Please take a look at our site for helpful vaccine information.

File a claim online or give us a call today at 1-800-810-3457 for legal help that will provide you with a sense of direction.

Stay Informed

Download Your
Free Vaccine Injury Kit

You will learn about the most common vaccine injuries,
what causes them, and how Sadaka Law can help you.


Founded by Mark T. Sadaka, Esq., Sadaka Law is a premier law firm experienced in handling complex lawsuits for injured people throughout the country. Find out if you have a case.


You Only Have Three Years To File Your Claim

The first step in helping yourself or a loved one after a serious vaccine related injury is to contact us for a free review of your case.

We want to
hear your story.

START getting your life back

Recent Posts