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Pertussis (Whooping Cough) Vaccine while pregnant, yes or no?

(49 Posts)
M0MY32 Wed 03-Jan-18 10:36:22

Hi everyone,
I'm just over 28 weeks pregnant and my midwife has asked whether I have been vaccinated for Pertussis yet. I told her I had not as I had read about the Aluminium toxicity in the vaccine and decided against having it. She is being fairly pushy about it and now I don't know what to do. Help please!

Blueberry1 Thu 18-Jan-18 10:58:50

Hi there, I'm 24 weeks and had my pertussis jab on Monday and had no side effects at all. I even went swimming before work on Tuesday morning!

Whooping cough is a serious illness especially in babies/young children where it often results in hospitalisation and occasionally death. I had it as a toddler as I was unvaccinated due to a vaccine scare before I was born. I've been susceptible to bad coughs my whole life and I do wonder if it stems from that experience (Caveat: this is my personal uninvestigated theory!).

The reason the NHS recommend pregnant women get vaccinated is to protect the baby who can't be vaccinated until after they're 2 months old. See: The UK Medicines Agency also did a study of 20,000 women on the safety of pertussis vaccination in pregnancy, see:

In relation to your concern about aluminium, please remember that the first rule of toxicology (I studied public health) is that "it's the dose that makes the poison". This is important as there are microscopic amounts of many toxic substances in everyday products including food, cosmetics and cleaning products, but they occur in such small doses that it's impossible to consume/ingest enough for harm to occur.

In my toxicology class, we looked at a food scare where an agricultural chemical containing a toxic ingredient had been found in lettuces, but you would have to consume something like 2 tonnes of lettuce a day to reach a level where any adverse effect could be found. Of course this didn't stop tabloid newspapers writing lurid headlines that put people off eating lettuce....

If you want to be geeky look up NOAEL - no observed adverse effects level and LOAEL - lowest observable adverse effect level for aluminium. (I don't know what it is for aluminium in the pertussis vaccine, but I'd be amazed if it's not at or below the NOAEL).

Some information about aluminium in vaccines from an Oxford University vaccines research group:

A study on adverse effects following vaccination with aluminium containing vaccines:

So you need to weigh up the risk of you being exposed to aluminium in the pertussis vaccine versus the risk of you getting whooping cough or your baby getting it before they can be vaccinated.

Blueberry1 Thu 18-Jan-18 11:06:52

Just saw this:, which says that the amount of aluminium in vaccines is lower than what the average person ingests every day through food.

WanderlustHenpeck Thu 18-Jan-18 11:10:58

Have a Google, look up whopping cough in newborns. Then decide if that's something you are happy potentially exposing your newborn baby to.

Bellamuerte Thu 18-Jan-18 11:26:11

I chose not to have the vaccine because of similar concerns. The leaflet for the vaccine says it's not recommended in pregnancy. Around 40% of women choose not to receive the vaccine according to

I told the midwife my decision but she refused to respect it - she continued to be pushy and threaten me that she'd have to report my lack of concern for my child's welfare. So in the end I just told her I'd had the vaccine so she'd leave me alone.

WanderlustHenpeck Thu 18-Jan-18 20:23:07

I would be interested to see the evidence in the leaflet saying that the vaccine isn't recommended in pregnancy.

If you read that document you linked to, you will see this :

A UK study examining the safety of pertussis vaccination in pregnancy found no evidence of an increased risk of any of an extensive predefined list of adverse events related to pregnancy for women given pertussis vaccination in the third trimester [6]. Effectiveness of maternal pertussis vaccination in preventing disease in infants younger than three months of age in England, has been calculated at 91%

Whooping cough can kill a newborn baby. The vaccine pretty much completely eradicates this risk, with no other adverse side effects.

I am all for choice, if you don't want to, then don't. But you should at least be in possession of the facts.

OrangeCarpet Mon 05-Feb-18 19:33:39

My DS caught whooping cough at 3 weeks old in 2012. It was the summer of the epidemic levels of whooping cough. He is part of the statistic that led to pregnant mothers being vaccinated. Has went blue, struggled to breathe and was hospitalised twice. It was horrendous. He vomited after every feed, lost a lot of weight and needed oxygen. The cough went on for 6 months.
I would advise any pregnant woman to have the vaccine. I wouldn’t want your baby to go through what mine did.

nbroots Tue 06-Feb-18 12:27:14

Infant immunity - Aluminium and fetal brain development

Kawahara - 2011 - ''Whilst being environmentally abundant, aluminum is not essential for life. On the contrary, aluminum is a widely recognized neurotoxin that inhibits more than 200 biologically important functions and causes various adverse effects in plants, animals, and humans''

Now i'm not saying don't have the vaccine but do look at both sides before you make a decision. Once it's in the body you can't get it out easily. Aluminium is INJECTED not ingested. Big difference! By a child's first year of life they have 4,435 mcg of aluminium injected into their body through vaccines ( that info can be calculated by reading all the package inserts) Ingested aluminium is excreted much more easily. 0.2-1.5 % is absorbed if ingested yet injected is 100% . The whole point of having it in there in the first place is to set off an immune reaction xx

OrangeCarpet Tue 06-Feb-18 16:58:45

The whooping cough vaccine discussed here is received by the pregnant mother rather than the baby. The mother then passes her boosted immunity on to the unborn child. So your points are not relevant nbroots.

thepatchworkcat Tue 06-Feb-18 17:07:56

I caught whooping cough itself during my first pregnancy, also during 2012, same year as a PP’s baby. It was awful for me as an adult and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy, let alone a newborn. Get the vaccine.

Lj8893 Tue 06-Feb-18 17:10:47

Babies have died from whooping cough.

nbroots Wed 07-Feb-18 11:28:57

So you think aluminium isn't passed onto the foetus OrangeCarpet? ANY maternal immune activation during pregnancy can alter the babies immune system, even into adulthood.
I am not saying in any shape or form whooping cough isn't a terrible disease especially in infants. I had whooping cough when I was 7 and it's awful! What I am saying is a mother has a right to know how medications/drugs affect their unborn child.
People frown upon pregnant mothers drinking alcohol but don't bat an eyelid at altering an unborn child's immune system by injecting substances which quite possibly could result in neurological damage?
Put simply, vaccines need to be made safer. This is not acceptable!

OrangeCarpet Wed 07-Feb-18 12:24:40

Alter their immune system? What rubbish. If I had had the opportunity to alter my DS’s immune system I would have done it. I would have had the vaccine and then my DS would not have got whooping cough at 3 weeks old. Then I wouldn’t have watched him struggling to breath, going blue and being on oxygen. I wouldn’t have been sat awake in hospital for 4 nights wondering if he was going to become part of the statistic of babies under 3 months who die of it. Having whooping cough at 7 is no comparison. There is really no point in engaging in discussion with my. My DS had it and could have been protected by the vaccine. Your views are dangerous to other people’s babies.

nbroots Wed 07-Feb-18 12:58:15

At no point have I said whooping cough is benign. It CAN be deadly. I Agree with you! What I am saying is mothers should also be aware that ANY immune activation can cause damage to an unborn child. Rubella, flu, measles and vaccination are examples. Vaccination produces an immune reaction. It can be equally as dangerous. So you don't like that information? You don't want to know they could cause damage? Parents don't have a right to know studies exist that show the opposite to what we are told?? That study above was released in 2013, one year AFTER the shots started to be administered to mum's across the UK. Lots of things can injure babies in utero. Ignoring that fact won't make it go away. I think they should be made safer for all involved given this new information and given it's only 5 years since it's inception we won't see the full picture for some time. All drugs given to mums should be 100% safe

welshmist Wed 07-Feb-18 13:00:15

Having seen a friend go through whooping cough, i would not hesitate to vaccinate, she is a healthy adult, was off work for weeks the cough lasted months. She really thought she was going to die at one point.

TillyTheTiger Wed 07-Feb-18 13:05:55

Please get the vaccine. I caught whooping cough in summer 2012 when there was an outbreak, I ended up with two cracked ribs from coughing so hard, and the cough didn't go until new year. I wouldn't wish it on anyone, and the thought of a baby going through that is just awful.

nbroots Wed 07-Feb-18 13:11:39

This study was released in 2015. This is just as scary as every other disease! My sister died of MS. A long suffering death. Never wish it on anyone...

confusedhelpme Wed 07-Feb-18 13:13:03

I nearly died from whooping cough.

Why would you put your baby at risk from dying?

welshmist Wed 07-Feb-18 13:39:14

confusedhelpme Wed 07-Feb-18 13:13:03
I nearly died from whooping cough.

Why would you put your baby at risk from dying?

Baffled here too. confused.

SossidgeRoll Wed 07-Feb-18 13:50:29

No judgement as I understand your concern: when I was pregnant with my first DD, Swine Flu was a concern I was offered and did not have the jab. HOWEVER, now I cannot believe I was so silly (although it was OK, I was lucky and did not catch flu). Hormones and anxiety had clouded my judgment and I looked at posts on the internet and random 'science' websites rather than actual healthcare professionals.
The Whooping Cough jab gives you immunity that is passed on to the baby - babies under 3 months who get whooping cough are GRAVELY ill. I'm sure you get that.
What concerns you about the jab?

OrangeCarpet Wed 07-Feb-18 17:54:06

No drug is 100% safe. It’s about risk assessment. I choose to trust health professionals recommendations instead of individual studies referred to by one random person online. I also trust my own experience of my child nearly dying of a preventable disease.

nbroots Thu 08-Feb-18 16:21:21

No one is saying trust one person online. The references are out there if people wish to look. It's up to the parents to look into it and then make a fully informed decision. Doctors do not give you the full information because it takes too much time and it would worry parents to much to know there are risks.

babyb829 Tue 10-Apr-18 15:24:45

I'm 20 weeks tomorrow with my scan being then too, I'm so unsure about this one also! I feel as if sometimes is a no brainer but then looking into it things I'm a little concerned on having it. Chances are il be offered it tomorrow, at my last midwife appointment I was told il be asked if I want it then, but I keep reading online it's best in your 3rd trimester from 28 weeks. Has anyone had it at 20 weeks or had any negative experiences with having it?

SinkGirl Tue 10-Apr-18 15:33:11

I had mine at 28 weeks - you’re now meant to have it around 20 weeks. One of my twins had growth restriction and I had an Emcs at 35 weeks.

When he was 8 weeks old he caught whooping cough. He was admitted around 9-10 weeks, spent 11 nights in HDU. He could easily have died. They had to badillh starve him for the entire time as he couldn’t breathe even with high flow oxygen. You should see the videos of him fighting for every breath. He was a 5lb 3 month old when we finally got him home.

His twin didn’t catch it and neither did I but for some reason it didn’t work for him, maybe because of the IUGR and leaving it closer to their birth.

Please have the vaccination. I cannot tell you the horrendous pain of having a baby who contracts this illness, and it would have been so much worse if I hadn’t taken every step to prevent it.

SinkGirl Tue 10-Apr-18 15:34:06

They used to recommend 28 weeks but brought it forward - not sure of the reasoning but there must be evidence behind this

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