Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you have any medical concerns we suggest you consult your GP.

Whooping cough vaccine while pregnant, worrying?

(142 Posts)
Keznel Tue 21-May-13 22:19:05

Just wondering if anyone else feeling reluctant to get the whooping cough vaccination now recommended for 28-38wks pregnant? I'm currently 20wks and really concerned about getting it, but guess I have plenty of time to make my mind up yet confused. I had DD in the peak of a whooping cough epidemic back (last year) when it wasn't offered to pregnant women! She thankfully was fine and got her own vaccinations at 8wks etc Just wondering if I'm alone in stressing about this? Or should I just do as I'm told and get it?

munchkinR Mon 22-Jul-13 12:27:46

Don't you just hate when people ruin what is a useful and interesting thread in order to try to show that they know more than the rest?

Anyway, I saw Keznel's message and it reminded me of the thoughts I went through when I was pregnant with my DD last year. I had the same thoughts and dilemas about the untested vaccine, the aluminium levels and the fact that the immunity passed to the baby somewhat dampens the baby's immunity to their childhood vaccinations. I contacted the pharmaceutical company that makes the vaccine and made a freedom of information request to the MHRA for details of reported adverse events during preganancy and neonates. After much searching I came to the conclusion that there just isn't any information regarding safety one way or the other. I also found healthcare professionals were clueless and unable to share any useful information about this and they seemed to be blindly following the Department of Health guidelines). When I tired to discuss it with the nurse who was immunising pregnant women I received the response "If you don't want to have it you don't have to", which is clearly obvious and not at all helpful. In the end I opted to have the whooping cough vaccine but later on in pregnancy (week 35 so that I had enough time to make an immune response to pass protection to my baby). Now I have a 6 month old daughter and luckily she overall healthy for now. I also know another 10 pregnant friends who had the vaccine and so far all seems ok. But of course that is not to say that some effect may not arise later.

Regarding the aluminium, this is everywhere and very hard to avoid. I was horrified to learn that soya had lots of aluminium at the time when I was having soya milk to see if a lactose free diet would help my baby's colic. I have been avoiding anti-persiparant deodrants due to their aluminium content and yet I was drinking it by the bucket load! I try to minimise the aluminium my baby gets but unfortunately have had to accept that some if it just cannot be avoided and what is in vaccines seems to not be so much compared to other things that you come across in every day life.

These days it is almost impossible to avoid these "nasties" but we all try our best. I think that Keznel you sound like a very informed person who has widely read around the whooping cough vaccine. Nobody has the perfect answer for you simply because it is an unknown. Despite trying to talk to others for their opinions or for professional opinions, I did not find it helped at all. I found other mums just took the view that they had the vaccine because they thought that if thye NHS were advising it then it must be the best option (naively I think.....I think we can all think back to the famous thalidomide fiasco that arose from another unknown advocated by the NHS). I did not come across anybody I knew for whom it actually crossed their minds the potential effects to their babies (not because they weren't concerned about their babies, they simply just didn't think of it). I remember thinking that I wished I could be that naive too so that I did not feel the burden of the decision and potential guilt in case it turned out I made the wrong decision.
I truly think that this is a decision that you need to make yourself based on everyhting you know and your gut feeling. It is you that has to live with any consequences, be they good or be they bad.

I guess you must have made your decision by now, and I am sure it was the correct one for you and your baby.

caringjayne Mon 16-Sep-13 18:20:04

Thank you so much for that very informative answer. I had no idea that the vaccine contained all of that. I don't like the sound of it at all.

arkestra Wed 18-Sep-13 12:34:59

People were looking for papers (full content, not just abstracts) re aluminium and vaccines earlier in the thread.

Here (after a fair bit of searching) is the most recent take I could find on modelling aluminum pharmacokinetics in infants via diet and vaccination: 2011: Updated aluminum pharmacokinetics following infant exposures through dietand vaccination - Robert J. Mitkus, David B. King, Maureen A. Hess, Richard A. Forshee, Mark O. Walderhaug.

If you want a recent take on the "establishment view" of aluminium safety in vaccines is, that's probably as good as anything.

I personally find it reassuring - but then, I would, wouldn't I? grin.

I am sure that someone with a more sceptical viewpoint of the scientific establishment's take on vaccines would have a different take on the meaning of the paper itself. But hopefully it might move the discussion forward next time something kicks off around Aluminium in vaccines.

The paper does appear to be an honest attempt to model the problem (including a reasonable - eg low - rate on gut absorption) and does point out potential issues with its own assumptions - something which makes it more convincing to me, not less - but which may not have the same effect on all readers?

This is a deadish thread so I won't necessarily check for responses. I am not claiming the paper as a convincing proof that should permanently silence all vaccine sceptics in shame etc etc etc. Just that it clarifies the assumptions being used behind the current establishment view that vaccine aluminium is OK.

CatherinaJTV Wed 18-Sep-13 14:32:28

I had no idea that the vaccine contained all of that. I don't like the sound of it at all.

I don't want to over-dramatise, but how do you like the sound of coughing for 100 days? As in coughing your lungs out, struggling for breath? Or as in coughing on your newborn, giving him or her pertussis, which can very well be deadly to such a young infant? Have a look (these ones both survived, but MAN!)

Damash12 Wed 18-Sep-13 14:53:09

Just do it, you'd never forgive yourself if anything happened. And yes I had the jab last year while carrying ds and he's absolutely fine.

arkestra Wed 18-Sep-13 15:11:52

Having had WC last year I can confirm that it can be pretty vile even if you're getting on like me. But obviously it's the infants that really need protecting.

I have a reasonably clear personal view on the risks and rewards in this area (I am pro the establishment view: MMR is safe, etc etc).

I am sympathetic to those who find the choices more difficult.

I do honestly think that everyone in the debate is acting in good faith - whether it's a mother trying to decide, a government or NGO setting health policy, a vaccine sceptic pressure group, a vaccine establishment figure (such as Paul Offit) or a vaccine sceptic figure (such as Andrew Wakefield).

The tragedy is that so many people believe that many of those with different opinions around vaccines to themselves are acting in bad faith, in one way or another.

It's very hard to engage constructively in any way once that kind of dynamic enters the picture. Even thinking it (but not saying it) tends to poison the dialogue.

I don't think there's any easy answer there - but it is a pity.

ChunkyFunkyMonkey Wed 09-Oct-13 14:22:45

Crumbledwalnuts did you have the WC vaccine for your pregnancy in the end may I ask? Although you were a champion of thought, you hadn't weighed up your mind?

I agree with all your posts so far, i.e: give the individual the facts, and they can make the decision on whether to have the vaccination or not, rather than just tell me blindly to have it. People are good at making decisions for themselves when armed with all the facts. Doctors mostly know this, NHS nurses hate this, and health workers are oblivious to this.

The more up-to-date information that can be shared and is searchable on the internet, the better health will be in the UK. For other countries - be warned away from Nationalised Health Care systems!

GrandPoohBah Wed 09-Oct-13 14:29:58

I had the vaccine. Unbeknownst to me, I was already developing whooping cough.

I coughed so much I gave myself a hernia, and my stomach muscles were hurting before I went into labour. After I had DD I was trying to take care of a newborn whilst not being able to leave the house (cold air set off the cough and 'whoop' and it was December), when I coughed I would a) leak (yay for post partum pelvic floors) or b) vomit - which also led to leaking.

If I were asked again I would still have the vaccine - because what if I hadn't and I'd given my newborn baby whooping cough?

bumbleymummy Thu 10-Oct-13 16:03:09

GrandPooh, your baby would have received its antibodies from you having whooping cough during your pregnancy even if you hadn't had the vaccine. The idea of the vaccine is to make you produce the WC antibodies and pass them onto your baby without you having to contract the disease yourself. Either way, the baby gets the antibodies but with the vaccine you don't have to have the disease.

coorong Fri 11-Oct-13 06:46:07

keznel the "I don't want to put chemicals in my body" is a lame argument. Your body is one big chemical laboratory full of viruses perfuming complex chemical reactions. What are carbon dioxide, water and oxygen? Your body needs chemicals, that's why we eat and breathe.

You work in healthcare?

bumbleymummy Fri 11-Oct-13 08:48:05

coorong, I think it's pretty obvious what she means.

bumbleymummy Fri 11-Oct-13 08:57:49

And which viruses are we full of that perform complex chemical reactions?

Lella116 Thu 19-Dec-13 05:15:51

I do agree with crumbledwalnut, I desided not to go for flu vaccine as I believe in natural medicine and healthy lifestyle, but after reading about dying babies I'm really worried, is risky to do vaccine but even more risky not to have one ? I was hoping that by keeping healthy my self eating lots of fruit and veg and other food full of VITAMINES and antioxidants I will give my baby good antibodies naturaly and in my milk then by continuing doing so , plus keeping my baby far from other toddlers at liest in the 1st 3 months ? That was my plan ,to do that will take a lot of healthy effort which is fine by me, question is now is it enough? Or should I go for WC to be sure ,but worry about vaccines side effects? Is hard real hard:-(, xx

sashh Thu 19-Dec-13 11:58:04


from your blog

That the trial was extended indicates that perhaps there have been few adverse events

No it doesn't it means exactly the opposite. Adverse effects would stop the trial.

No drug is tested on pregnant women or children so technically all drugs given before you are 18 are untested. But the reactions / efficacy / side effects are. I took a drug called methotrexate for 10 years. It had not been tested on pregnant women but it is known to cause serious birth defects in animals. So who in their right mind would risk that with a human? You are strongly advised not to get pregnant on methotrexate and if you do to stop it ASAP.

ther babies and children will have been vaccinated well any coming into contact with my new born will have been! So surely if I ask anyone displaying symptoms to stay away until the baby has had it's own vaccinations.

That sounds fine, but the primary carer for your baby, you, has not been vaccinated. What are you going to do if you contract WC?

I am reluctant to introduce chemicals and viruses into my body The only way to do that is live in a sterile bubble and not eat or drink anything.

it also contains: Phenoxyethanol, Polysorbate 80, aluminium phosphate, formaldehyde, glutaraldehyde, streptomycin, neomycin, polymyxin B and bovine serum albumin. Scary list that of course is present in most vaccines. The one that worry me most on that list for potential harm to my baby is aluminium.

But aluminium is not on the list of ingredients. Aluminium phosphate is not aluminium. When you turn on a tap water comes out, water is hydrogen dioxide (amongst other names) you don't get two different gasses pouring out of a tap you get water.

Research can be a good thing. Research when you do not know the context or the technical terms which have a specific meaning. Don't make assumptions, as you did about the trial being extended, as you are in a medical job ask the people who do medical trials.

Almost the thing I say almost always on these threads. If your child gets the disease they are on their own. There are treatments that can be given but nothing that cures.

Finally polio.

There is Polio doing the roounds in Syria because children have not been vaccinated due to war/displacement/parents just trying to keep themselves and their children alive.

There have been no cases reported in the region outside Syria but the it has been found in Isreali sewer systems. Having an up to date polio vax is not a bad idea.

Keznel Wed 08-Jan-14 20:50:06

Hi I just wanted to update you with what I decided, and the reasons why, considering I started this grin

But firstly let me say to coorong hilarious your post made me laugh a lot, I'm in no doubt that you knew exactly what I meant by my comments, but cheers for the chuckle!

As my pregnancy progressed I continued to research the cases of suspected or confirmed WC in our area, and asked my local GP too. The trust that I work for had no cases in 2013. I myself did not (and haven't previously) come into contact with anyone who had either suspected or confirmed WC personally nor professionally. The numbers were insignificantly small. I also read a lot about the disease itself and it's cyclic nature 2012 being the epidemic year, the numbers should theoretically fall from then on. So I kept an eye on WHO published numbers and sure enough numbers were falling. I spoke at length to my consultant who agreed the risk was extremely small that the baby would contract WC. She said if I did decide to get it to leave it as late as possible to 35-36 weeks.

I decided not to have the vaccine while pregnant I felt that it was in its infancy in the use in pregnant women and I was not willing to get it for the reasons I have described above. I now have a happy, healthy, if somewhat noisy 16 week old DS who for reasons I'm not going to go into now, was born by CS at 37weeks. The house was a busy one after he was born. We were visited by adults, adolescents and babies and guess what not one case of WC among his visitors.

I am not posting this to receive your opinions on what I decided to do. I simply wanted to update you on my decision and the reasons for it. Had I discovered that WC was rife in the area we live I may have reached a different conclusion. I hope whatever everyone decided to do was the correct decision for them.

bumbleymummy Wed 08-Jan-14 21:54:59

Congratulations Keznel smile Glad you're both healthy and happy.

CatherinaJTV Wed 08-Jan-14 22:11:58

congratulations and thank you for the detailed update and reasoning...

Frontdoorstep Thu 09-Jan-14 16:41:01

Congratulations on your baby. Thanks for the update. Your reasoning sounds well though out and was obviously the best outcome for you and your baby

pixiestix Sun 19-Jan-14 11:24:39

Thanks for the update Keznel. Congratulations on your lovely boy. Your thread has been really interesting and useful to me.

honeyharris Fri 14-Feb-14 20:25:06

Keznel, can I ask where you managed to get the information from on WC cases in your area? I've asked my midwife and GP and they weren't able to tell me.

tpepep Thu 13-Mar-14 18:42:49

I had my vaccine for whooping cough on wednesday i'm 31 weeks pregnant today and had this injection on both occasions with my 2 boys and now expecting a girl my shoulder has come up red from where i was jabbed but now it really itches but it never did when i had it before.

mumtobeZ Sat 03-May-14 22:07:31

What a shame that these old illnesses are reappearing again and we are having to make such tough choices for our unborn with the very little info available to us.
Although the number of infant deaths is decreasing with more women getting vaccinated these days, the illness is still present and a serious one.
I had the whooping cough jab in the end at 32 weeks (two days ago) after a lot of research and discussions with the midwife and my doctor.
Good luck to all the mummies to be, this isn't an easy decision to make.

Beachbump Wed 28-May-14 21:47:13

I was looking for up to date whooping cough information to see if I was in a high risk area or season. I found some very interesting and accurate data on the below link which helped me make an informed decision:

and search for the term: pertussis

The data was collected up til the end of December 2013 so is the most up to date I have found.

Nataliehill25 Tue 11-Aug-15 11:04:49

Hi I am 38 weeks and 2 days pregnant and wondering about the whooping cough as I'm past 38 weeks

Firsttime2 Mon 17-Aug-15 16:42:40

I think Keznel is right!

And I think mothers need to stop being sheep easily swayed by whatever they are told. Jeeze! Your baby is highly unlikely to die, in England and Wales something like 400 babies died in 2012 and if you look at that percentage wise in comparison with all the babies that didn't die the percentage in less than 1%. My mother had no whooping cough vaccine when she was pregnant with me and my siblings and we all turned out just fine! My sister had no whooping cough vaccine with her three children and they all turned out just fine so I don't really see what all the fuss is about. I personally won't be having it! Because I'm not sheep and from the investigations of all the crap in that vaccine looks like it does more harm than good anyway. Guess il have to risk it like my mother did and like my sister did and hope for nature to protect as it always has.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now