Whooping Cough

Pregnant women can protect their babies by getting pertussis vaccine in last trimester

DEAR MAYO CLINIC: I am four months pregnant and live in an area where there has been a pertussis outbreak. What's the best way to keep my newborn baby safe until he or she can get the vaccine?

ANSWER: The best way to prevent your baby from getting pertussis, also known as whooping cough, is for you, while you are pregnant, to get a dose of the tetanus, diphtheria and acellular pertussis booster, or Tdap, ideally between 27 and 36 weeks of pregnancy. A recent study showed that when pregnant women receive the vaccine, it dramatically increases newborns' immunity to pertussis -- effectively protecting the infants until they start their own series of pertussis...