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The CDC recommends that pregnant women get the whooping cough vaccine between 27 and 36 weeks of each pregnancy. Whooping cough is a serious disease that can be deadly for babies. Because babies depend on maternal antibodies for protection against disease, it’s important for expectant mothers to maintain current immunizations. The vaccineTdap helps prevent include the following:

Tetanus: Caused by bacteria found in soil, dust, and manure. The tetanus bacteria enter the body through breaks in the skin.The disease causes muscles to tighten and is sometimes called lockjaw because jaw muscles can become so tense thatit’s impossible to open the mouth. Although tetanus cases are rare in the United States,because of immunity from vaccines, any unvaccinated individual or person in whom immunity has lapsed is susceptible to the disease.

Diphtheria: This illness spreads from person to person through coughing and sneezing or touching contaminated objects. Diphtheria leads to weakness, sore throat, fever, and enlarged glands. Individuals who contract diphtheria can experience airway blockage, heart muscle damage, nerve damage, lung infection, and paralysis.

Pertussis:This highly contagious bacterial disease is also called whooping cough because of the harsh, uncontrollable coughing fits it produces. The illness is particularly dangerous in infants and can cause them to stop breathing, leading to death.

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