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Do a new baby a favor – get your shots

Published in OB/GYN Services, For the Health of It Author: Nader Ailabouni, DO

When someone in your family is expecting a new baby, it can be an exciting time. You may have several months to think about preparing the nursery, planning baby showers, and how you can best help mom and the growing family. But there’s one thing you should not overlook. Get your shots. Vaccines are not just for the new baby.

The CDC now recommends parents, grandparents and other family members around a new baby get a Tdap vaccine. This provides protection for tetanus, diphtheria, and most importantly pertussis – better known as whooping cough.

Whooping cough spreads easily and can cause severe illness or death. It’s not just a disease from another time – it’s actually quite common (more than 25,000 reported cases in a recent year). Young babies don’t have any protection from whooping cough, so they rely on others to not carry the disease. So not just immediate family members should consider getting vaccinated. Aunts, uncles, friends and babysitters should do so too.

Even if you have had whooping cough or the vaccine before – that protection can wear off. So when someone in your life is pregnant, it’s not a bad idea to make a doctor’s appointment to get a Tdap booster. And encourage others in your family to do so as well.

Here are some other health tips to keep in mind when someone around you is pregnant or just had a new arrival:

  • Depending on the time of year, get your flu shot too. In general, the flu shot is available starting in the fall – but you can get it all winter and early spring, if needed.
  • Better to be safe than sorry. Encourage others who are feeling ill to avoid being around a new baby.
  • Get in the habit of good handwashing.
  • Get educated. CentraCare Health offers the following classes for expecting families: