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Whooping cough vaccine and some threads on internet about stillbirth as a result

(63 Posts)
Happychick35 Sun 05-Jan-14 09:41:59

I know this topic has been raised quite a few times by now, but I wanted to ask did you do it? I pushed doing it as far as possible in my pregnancy, but now I have to make a decision and I do think the information about vaccine is not complete. Please don't get an impression I am against vaccination, I definitely think that is something what has to be done and thought of my LO getting a WC horrifies me. However NHS says on their website that vaccine is routinely done in France and Germany and since I am lucky enough to have friends in both I checked. In France I even spoke with GP who showed official French guidelines stating that as vaccine was not tested on pregnant women it is not generally recommended to do it during pregnancy. Their suggestion is for women to do it after birth and have the infant family vaccinated. In Germany it is not routinely offered to pregnant women either. So there seems to be the trend in US and UK only and vaccine used in US is different to UK. And now there are a few reports in US which question the efficiency of this approach. There are a few threads on the internet where women report reduced fetal movements after vaccine and even stillbirth incidents. It is hard to prove that it is something related, but such incidents should not be dismissed either. Also when I ask midwifes question would you do it if you were pregnant , I get quite mixed responses, some say yes, but some say actually I might give it a bit of time to see how everybody else is getting on. All my pregnant friends did it and seems to be fine. But there is a thought on the back of my mind if something happens to my pregnancy due to vaccine I will never forgive myself. I do not have much faith in UK health system as I have been let down quite a few times struggling with endometriosis and infertility and I can positively say I am pregnant more despite healthcare system rather than due to it. Just a few thoughts...

meditrina Sun 05-Jan-14 09:47:21

What was the date on the guidelines the French doctor showed you the guidelines?

For in 2012 there was a French publicity campaign for it to be done,a nit should have been offered to every pg woman there (don't know about Germany).

The old formulation WC jab certainly should not have been given during pg, but the new acellular one is widely used.

OwlinaTree Sun 05-Jan-14 09:51:46

It's a tough decision isn't it? I had the jab on Friday, I'm 31 weeks today.

I also had a neonatal loss in 2012. Absolutely nothing can prepare you for the loss of a child. You analyse every decision you made for 9 months.

There are no easy answers. How would you feel if yourbaby caught whooping cough? There are risks attached to everything, but stillbirth and neonatal loss is still, unfortunately, unexplained in many cases.

You are right to question any decision you make which affects you and your unborn child, none of us should follow like sheep, unquestioning.

I often take the view that any action the NHS takes costs money. So there must be a valid reason for them to spend the money vaccinating pg women.

Happychick35 Sun 05-Jan-14 09:56:29

Hi meditrina it was January 2012 and my friend just had a baby in France and was never offered one during pregnancy.

KateG2010 Sun 05-Jan-14 09:58:52

I'm also very interested in responses and have been trying to decide whether to have this jab myself (23+1). I'm also generally very provaccination, but am skeptical about this particular usage of the jab in pregnancy as it seems to be a very knee-jerk reaction to the recent outbreak.

I also have little faith in the NHS system for various reasons, and think that the top-down approach to decision making doesn't really allow for proper discussion with health professionals. Looking at the guidelines the midwives have for talking to patients it sounds like a no-brainer, but the minutes from the original committee meetings where this was discussed show that they really didn't know that this would work but thought it was the best option available at the time. As I understand it this vaccine has never actually been used in pregnant women (the US one is different, I'm not aware about France or Germany) so this is essentially a rather poorly controlled mass clinical trial of efficacy and safety.

If people have had the jab, have you had reduced movements (or other problems) afterwards, or was there no apparent effect on baby?

OwlinaTree Sun 05-Jan-14 10:00:16

All seems fine, baby is moving as before.

NickysMam Sun 05-Jan-14 10:11:31

I had it at 28 weeks pregnant, I'm 30 weeks on Tuesday and baby is fine. in fact, she's moving a lot more, her movements are stronger.

I've never heard about the risk of stillbirth, and my mw, who is very health conscious, had convinced me to get it as I was initially very apprehensive.

Happychick35 Sun 05-Jan-14 10:13:04

OwlinaTree massive hug and fingers crossed for your pregnancy, you are very brave! KateG2010 just one more interesting point I spoke to a few consultants about vaccine and at least one of them on the question would you let your pregnant wife do it said no... However my GP who advised me against the flu jab , actually was quite pro WC. These are very tough decisions.

OwlinaTree Sun 05-Jan-14 10:15:34

Thanks happy. Hope you make the decision you feel comfortable with.

BumgrapesofWrath Sun 05-Jan-14 10:23:41

I know someone who lost their 12 week old to WC so it was a no-brainer for me to have the vaccine.

Happychick35 Sun 05-Jan-14 10:35:20

BumgrapesofWrath that is horrible, but should not have the baby had his/hers 8 weeks vaccination by that point?

CoteDAzur Sun 05-Jan-14 11:14:02

I had 2 babies in France and was not offered any vaccines.

What would be the point of a WC vaccine during pregnancy? Baby has it soon after birth anyway.

Somanychanges Sun 05-Jan-14 11:15:17

I am facing this very decision. I am 33 weeks now and still not made up my mind. So will be watching with interest.

Julietee Sun 05-Jan-14 11:19:06

Same, Somany. I'm not skeptical of inoculations, but I am of the actual efficacy of this one. Plus the fact that it's actually a triple shot, apparently because that's the only brand available that has the pertussis vac in it. Which just makes it more hmmm.

It does seem like they're kind of experimenting on us with this one - it's that it's so new that worries me - we haven't seem any longer term consequences yet. Of which, hopefully, there are none.

OwlinaTree Sun 05-Jan-14 11:30:50

Tbh it was the risk to baby once born that made me go for it. I think they have an 8 week shot but need a booster too. And what if it is exposed before 8 weeks?

CoteDAzur Sun 05-Jan-14 11:55:01

How prevalent do you think WC is?

You can always get WC vaccine yourself soon after the birth and pass the antibodies to baby through your breastmilk.

chocolatemartini Sun 05-Jan-14 12:01:04

It seems clear that it is an experiment, and time will tell whether fewer babies under 2 months old get whooping cough if their mothers have the jab. Fwiw I've refused both flu and whooping cough jabs. I wasn't offered either in my previous pregnancy 2 years ago (both in the UK)

whereisshe Sun 05-Jan-14 12:06:36

I really struggled with whether to get the WC vaccine as well.

In the end I decided to get it, as close to the end of my pregnancy as possible but still with 2 weeks to build up my antibodies before starting to breastfeed (as I understand it that's the main reason to do it while pregnant, as not many antibodies cross the placenta only IgG).

As it's been offered in the UK to pregnant women for a year or two now, and is also a vaccine routinely given to small children, I felt safer having it than the flu vaccine which I didn't have. I also weighed up the risk of not having it, and WC cases are still relatively high in the uk at the moment (although declining from 2012 levels).

Monkeyshuffle Sun 05-Jan-14 12:09:12

I am 25 weeks now and have been looking into this myself. Mid-2011 a whooping cough outbreak began and over the following year, 9 infants died from it before they were old enough to be vaccinated. The vaccination programme is temporary and as a direct result of this outbreak, so would not necessarily apply to the continent. The vaccine ( which includes diphtheria, tetanus, polio) is inactive so cannot cause infection. For me, a potential risk cannot outweigh an actual risk, so have decided to have it. I agree, it is a personal decision for every mother to be to make.

Monkeyshuffle Sun 05-Jan-14 12:12:50

I am 25 weeks now and have been looking into this myself. Mid-2011 a whooping cough outbreak began and over the following year, 9 infants died from it before they were old enough to be vaccinated. The vaccination programme is temporary and as a direct result of this outbreak, so would not necessarily apply to the continent. The vaccine ( which includes diphtheria, tetanus, polio) is inactive so cannot cause infection. For me, a potential risk cannot outweigh an actual risk, so have decided to have it. I agree, it is a personal decision for every mother to be to make.

NorthEasterlyGale Sun 05-Jan-14 12:17:29

I had the WC jab at 27 weeks (I think that's when it was!) and have also had the flu jab earlier (I have that one every year as I'm asthmatic). I'm now 32 weeks and all seems well with baby - measuring a little large apparently (but so did DS1, one was born at a massive 6lb 13oz at 38+3 hmm).

I was mildly cautious about WC jab as I researched it and knew it hadn't been tested in pregnant women, so questioned it with MW who recommended I had it. I had WC as a child but apparently the immunity doesn't pass to baby and the jab is to offer them protection when they are most vulnerable, as a newborn before their own jab.

I have to say, I reacted more to the WC jab than I have to any other I've had ('flu, tetanus, stuff for travel abroad etc) but feel fine now and baby didn't seem bothered. I had the standard sore arm for a couple of days, then the jab site became swollen, red and itchy for several days and took a couple of weeks to calm down fully.

MetellaEstMater Sun 05-Jan-14 14:05:23

I had it at 28 weeks and DD was born this weekend and routine checks all good.

No reaction other than a raised red patch and bruising feeling. I had the flu jab at the same time.

Smithy007 Sun 05-Jan-14 14:12:00

I think I will probably have it.

It's one of those things though because if you did sadly suffer a neonatal death you'd blame the vaccine, but if your baby caught whooping cough and became very ill or passed away you'd live an equal lifetime of regret.

There are no certainties in life, but to be honest I'd rather be safe than sorry. It seems to me the majority of women who have the vaccination have healthy babies without complications.

callamia Sun 05-Jan-14 14:14:36

I had it at 33 weeks. I had no ill effects at all, and experienced no changes in baby movements. I did read everything I could find beforehand, but I decided that the risk/benefit was worth it. My baby is now 12 weeks old. He had a cough and cold and six weeks, and that was tough enough to manage.

adagio Sun 05-Jan-14 14:20:53

Sample size of 1 : I had the WC and Flu vaccines in 2012 at 34 weeks and had a healthy baby girl 20/12/2012, now just over a year old and thriving. For me, I wanted her to be protected for the first few weeks before her shots (2012 was the outbreak year).

I had the jab happily with DS and swine flu with DD.

A baby has 3 sets of jabs at 8 weeks , 12 weeks and 16 weeks so not completely covered from 8 weeks as I understand it.

IMO we are lucky to live somewhere our health care system provides us with vaccinations.

StillaChocoholic Sun 05-Jan-14 14:33:54

I had it and DS is now almost 9 months old. Perfectly healthy, happy baby.

UncleGuber Sun 05-Jan-14 14:34:50

Thank you for this thread - I'd forgotten having the jab was even a option. Noone has mentioned it to me (other than a poster in the GP surgery)

impatienttobemummy Sun 05-Jan-14 14:36:16

I didn't have it as I read that it has been questioned as to whether it affects the efficacy of sunsequent subsequent vaccinations once born. It does seem a little too experimental to me but its s difficult choice and I can honestly say I'm not 100% I've made the right one I made this decision with my husband who was strongly against me having it.
We are having the vaccinations ourselves after birth which I believe is the advice in Australia since they had an outbreak

Felix90 Sun 05-Jan-14 14:41:00

I had this at 30ish weeks (can't remember exact week) and now have a healthy 2 week old dd! I was in two minds about it until I read a post by a mother who went in to great detail about when her baby had WC and she had to keep resuscitating her constantly and it sounded awful, so I went ahead and had it. No problems whatsoever.

Yes I met a mother who's baby had WC who had gone blue 3 times. It's a nasty nasty illness.

A poor mumsnetters DD had it and she was ill for ages.

puddleduck16 Sun 05-Jan-14 16:21:46

I would agree with Whereisshe and Monkeyshuffle. We've had an outbreak which saw levels rise by 100 fold from 2008 to 2012, with several deaths.

Yes these levels are now on the decrease, but would they still be on the decrease if the vaccination programme didn't exist, therefore causing more deaths?

Just playing devils advocate. I've had it, but after doing my research and deciding that I didn't want to risk it.
Most drugs out there aren't tested on pregnant women as it is deemed unethical to include them in trials. That doesn't mean to say that they aren't safe.

KateG2010 Sun 05-Jan-14 16:24:05

It's really interesting to hear that advice is different in other countries. We were also thinking of also having all adults in contact with the baby vaccinated impatienttobemummy - are you in the UK? How do you go about doing that?

impatienttobemummy Sun 05-Jan-14 17:00:20

Yes I'm in the UK you can get it done via your GP practice of can get them from private clinics

redcarrot1 Sun 05-Jan-14 17:24:26

I had it at 33 weeks. So far, so good (38+ at the mo). I had more of a reaction to the flu jab personally with a big raised red bump on my arm.

My partner had WC last summer and it was horrible. He passed out a number of times from the severity of the coughing and hit his head on our furniture while falling over. Imagine the effects on a baby! The posts from people here talking about others who had lost their babies from it was also enough to convince me to have it.

lalouche Sun 05-Jan-14 17:58:48

There was a wc vaccine scare in the mid-70s. My parents didn't get me vaccinated, and I caught whooping cough at 11 months old. I was very poorly indeed, and my parents sorely regretted their decision. A newborn is even more vulnerable than an 11 month old. To me it was a no-brainer- theoretical risk from vaccine (safely used for years in small children) and very real risk from wc for a tiny baby. Fwiw I had jab at 28w, all fine (32w now) other than sore leg.

noblegiraffe Sun 05-Jan-14 18:06:54

I had it, DD is now 11 months. Babies were dying of it before they were old enough to have had all their vaccinations, so it was needed to cover them between birth and the final jab. Breastfeeding isn't enough protection.

DH had whooping cough as a baby, my Mil was very keen for me to have the jab. She said it was awful.

The thing that makes me hesitate is that they don't know how effective it is to vaccinate in pregnancy. Only time will tell if wc rates in newborns improve. I am generally very pro vaccination and had the flu jab, but in this case it might not even give that much protection. I would be interested in how many babies that contract wc are breast fed my mothers with antibodies but don't thinknthis info exists? I do feel confident that the vaccine wouldn't be offered if there was a real risk of problems though.

noblegiraffe Sun 05-Jan-14 18:41:05

From what I read, the most likely person a baby is going to catch whooping cough from is the mother. So even if the antibodies transferred through the placenta don't offer full protection, the mother being vaccinated knocks out the most likely source. So it's a two pronged approach.

littlecrumb Sun 05-Jan-14 18:47:20

I had the vaccine at 28 weeks and I am now 38 weeks and no problems at all, baby is so active! I think there is more of a risk to not having the jab than having it.

VoodooChimp Sun 05-Jan-14 18:56:17

My niece got WC as a baby and was admitted to hospital. She'd already had her first WC jab, but not the boosters.

lilyaldrin Sun 05-Jan-14 19:04:04

I had it done at 30 weeks - the risk of the baby getting WC before 8 weeks was too much for me.

As it's the same jab babies get, I didn't find it too worrying tbh.

Funnily enough, I did have a period of reduced movements about 4 days after the jab, which lasted for a few days - I had scans and monitoring and the baby looked fine. I hadn't linked the two though.

DumSpiroSperHoHoHo Sun 05-Jan-14 20:16:21

Like lalouche, I was a 70's baby whose parents declined the WC vaccine because of a scare at the time - I believe it was suspected of causing brain damage in some infants.

I contracted WC at 7yo - 2 months off school, a collapsed lung and the associated twice weekly hospital visits for physio, and my parents having to watch me cough myself blue on several occasions. About 18 months later I was diagnosed with asthma which I believe may well have been triggered by the WC.

My mum and I both had it early last year. It continued on and off for about 3 months and although not as severe for me it was still v. unpleasant. My mum, who is in her seventies, was nearly admitted to f hospital on two or three occasions.

I am no cheerleader for vaccination tbh, and didn't have to make this particular call for DD, although MMR was still an issue and we opted to go private and have separate jabs. However having experience WC as a child and an adult I think I would definitely lean towards have the WC vaccine if I was pregnant at the moment, albeit as late as I could get away with it.

Best of luck with whatever you decide.

wispaxmas Sun 05-Jan-14 20:34:43

What puddleduck said, the reason it seems knee jerk and experimental is because it's a programme enacted in response to an outbreak, but that's exactly what they have to do with pregnant women. You can only do observational studies on pregnant women. This means that researches and doctors have observed that there was a sudden rise of cases of whooping cough in infants. It has been observed that the immunity from the vaccine is passed through breast milk to infants, so to prevent whooping cough pregnant women are now all offered the vaccine. It's not knee jerk, it's a well thought out and weighed response to a public health issue.

The same thing goes for the flu jab. Flu during pregnancy was seen to be on the rise and with swine flu there were unfortunately more still births and premature births due to infection and fever in pregnant women who were more likely to catch the virus in the first place, so pregnant women were added to the list of at-risk people who get the jab annually.

CrimboTango Sun 05-Jan-14 20:49:39

The reason pregnant women are immunised is so that the mum can make the antibodies and pass it on through the placenta to baby, so the baby is 'born protected' if you like. Immunoglobulins passed through the breastmilk are not the same as the ones that cross the placenta and won't offer the same level of protection. It's not treating women as guinea pigs, there is some science behind it.
WC immunity can wane so even if immunised in childhood the mums antibody levels may not be high enough to confer protection in baby, hence a booster for all women in pregnancy.

HomeHypno Sun 05-Jan-14 21:25:07

I also have asthma with a possible link to past whooping cough. Before I got a proper diagnosis and meds I used to cough to the point of vomiting to overcome the attacks. Would not wish something like that on anyone if it was preventable.

When the recommendation to vaccinate pregnant women came I did my research because it sounded appalling, but looking at the actual vaccine it seems impossible it could actually cause any real problems. I had a good chat about this with a midwife who is very much pro natural health and she agrees. That said it is an experiment like someone pointed out and we will only know afterwards whether it was 100% safe. UK however has appalling stillbirth statistics compared to rest of the civilised world and many of those babies would have been saved through better cate from GPs, midwives and obstetricians alike.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Sun 05-Jan-14 22:00:38

I am terrified of WC and am in the age group where my childhood vaccination immunity may well be wearing off.
Cap that with the fact that my baby will have health problems anyway, and its a no brainer for me. I will begetting the jab as soon as I can.

tsw Sun 05-Jan-14 22:17:09

Does anyone know about the vaccine in subsequent pregnancies? I had it Jan 2013 but had a stillbirth in March & am now 3rd tri a year on. I'm hesitant to have it as I had WC as a child too....

noblegiraffe Sun 05-Jan-14 22:19:55

Yes, you need to have it each pregnancy because your body needs to be prompted to create the maximum number of antibodies at the right time for them to cross the placenta.

ChaffinchOfDoom Sun 05-Jan-14 22:46:35

I'm going to have it; it's booked for wk 28 day 1. I hate when my dc are ill, and WC is a dreadful illness.

Jolay100 Sun 05-Jan-14 23:17:41

It's interesting to read different perspectives - as a health care worker exposed to lots of bugs I am meant to have the flu jab every year but didn't until this year, specifically because I am pregnant and have seen otherwise healthy pregnant women in iTu with flu. I haven't had wc yet but fully intend to when the time comes.

Jolay100 Sun 05-Jan-14 23:20:06

Ps I think wc vaccine wears off after 7 years or there about. That might just be the primary childhood course though, not sure about adult boosters

4athomeand1cooking Sun 05-Jan-14 23:40:33

I had mine booked for 32 weeks then caught several continuous bugs, ended up having baby at 37 weeks with a nasty cold and cough on board so did not have the WC jab.

I am very much aware that I have left my baby exposed, the paranoia is terrible and I have had to step away from google. IMO I have taken a huge gamble and the risk is not worth it. My little bundle is too special!

CoteDAzur Mon 06-Jan-14 00:23:32

If you are so worried, have the vaccine now and pass the antibodies to your baby with your breastmilk.

noblegiraffe Mon 06-Jan-14 06:34:49

Breastfeeding doesn't offer enough protection.

CoteDAzur Mon 06-Jan-14 07:22:46

And we know this because extensive studies have been done on vaccinating new mums against WC?

HomeHypno Mon 06-Jan-14 08:13:18

The breastfeeding advice is based on scientific findings and unfortunately doesn't protect the baby anywhere near the same way as pregnancy vaccine. More infor in breastfeeding network website.

Sunnysummer Mon 06-Jan-14 08:32:28

My friend's baby girl died of wc - she was born perfect and healthy, caught it before her jabs and despite being rushed to hospital, she progressed to pneumonia and then her desperate parents had to watch by the nicu crib while she died of multiple organ failure.

I got the shot. And so did my husband (even though he'd had it years ago, the effect had worn off, apparently), our parents and anyone else who wanted to come near our PFB for long...

Happychick35 Mon 06-Jan-14 10:51:01

Gosh, I did not expect such a big response, thank you very much everyone. These are hard decisions , what bothers me most is lack of any data which prove efficiency of vaccine for newborn, this has not been completely confirmed and safety in pregnancy. They only say that there was increased number of antibodies in umbilical cord and there is a question whether they do indeed pass to the baby. And in California where there is an epidemic of WC and vaccination compaign they did not notice significant reduction of numbers of incidents, hence questions about vaccine effieciency now as well as whether it decrease effect of vaccine at 8 weeks.

SaggyOldClothCatPuss Mon 06-Jan-14 11:08:39

I've just booked my jab. Putting aside what I already said, I currently have a bad cold and feel horrendous enough! Given that WC has been in my area I don't want to feel any worse than this! I've already coughed myself into pieces!

stopgap Mon 06-Jan-14 15:37:20

I had my booster two years ago after DS1, but have chosen not to do it during this pregnancy as I'm dealing with other health issues. But I believe the booster from two years ago should still be effective. Or does anyone know if WC booster ought to be annual?

rallytog1 Mon 06-Jan-14 15:51:32

Happychick the important thing to remember is that NOTHING drug or vaccine-wise had been confirmed safe for pregnant women, as it would be completely unethical to run full-scale medical trials on pregnant women (not to mention the fact that you'd struggle to find volunteers!). So any judgements about what is and isn't safe have to be based on very limited data sets.

noblegiraffe Mon 06-Jan-14 17:24:52

Stopgap, you need a jab at the right point in each and every pregnancy to maximise antibody transfer through the placenta at the right time.

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