TDAP Vaccination While Pregnant

The vaccination debate has been one that has been going on for years, and one that people have debated until they are blue in the face. Don’t worry, I am not here to tell you my stance on vaccinations and try to convince anyone to come and join me on whatever side I stand on.

What I will say is that we have to stop mommy-shaming. Each and every mom does the best she can with all the information she has. You may not agree with her choices, but at the end of the day, that’s what they are… her choices!

I do think as potential parents, it is our job to ask those questions, even if it starts a heated debate, even if it gets a few eyebrows raised at you. We need all the knowledge we can get to make educated decisions. It’s our job raising little people to learn all we can, gather all the information so that when we do make a decision we can feel in our hearts that it was the right one.

At my last OBGYN visit, I was told that it was being recommended that pregnant women between 24-32 weeks should get the TDAP vaccination. Of course, I took the information and asked questions as to why this was being recommended. I have gotten all of my vaccinations up until this point, so getting another vaccination for myself wasn’t really a big deal.

However, pregnant now, I am always overly-cautious on how everything I put into my body will affect the little Kiwi growing inside me.

Of course I went to researching. The TDAP vaccination is something I have had in the past. It is something that I have been kept up to date on, however the CDC (Center for Disease Control and prevention) suggests pregnant women get the vaccination during every pregnancy in their third trimester regardless of when they last got the shot. Their reasoning is that Whooping Cough is extremely dangerous for newborns and young infants and when we as mothers get the shot, it increases your babies antibodies against Whooping Cough.

Now personally, I have never had to even think about Whooping Cough up until this point in my life. I think I may have thought about it once when there was a rise in the dog population and I had to get my dog the shot before boarding him at a kennel, but outside of that, it was the furthest thing in my mind.

However, half the children under the age of one who get Whooping Cough will end up in the hospital. Those odds seemed very scary to me. It can lead to pneumonia, and breathing problems. I researched the statistics around the death of babies who were too young to get the vaccine and decided that for my peace and mind and the wellbeing of my baby (as almost all of the side effects from the shot were ones that would affect me and not my baby) to go ahead and get the shot.

I got the shot Monday evening. I went home with a sore arm but no other complaints. The typical side effects were pain and swelling where the shot was given, headaches and a general fatigue (hey, I’ve been pregnant for seven months. I’ve been living my life in fatigue).

Tuesday came along and all was well. I did wake up feeling a little bit off, not quite myself. I felt like I was on the brink of a cold or something, sore muscles, really dragging in all my movements. Aside from that, I was alright. I got dressed, went to work and everything seemed completely normal.

Until around 10:00am.

I had this cramp while walking that almost brought me to my knees. I stood still and just breathed through it. The cramp lasted about ten minutes and then I seemed fine so I continued on my way. Then the cramp came again. I wasn’t sure what to think, I was sweating behind my ears, my breath was short and forced. Something just wasn’t right.

Rushing into a coffee shop, I went into the bathroom to splash some water on my face. It was over 30 degrees that day and I thought that this late in pregnancy the heat was really getting to me, so it could just be that. I ended up having terrible diarrhea and left the coffee shop feeling a little bit better. Maybe it was just gas cramps and the heat working together.

Anyway, after three more episodes like this through the day, I called my doctor to ask if this was normal and if it could somehow be related to taking the shot. She suggested I go into the hospital to get checked out.

After three hours in the hospital with them monitoring baby Kiwi to make sure all was well, the doctor told me baby was doing extremely well and the diarrhea was a side effect of the shot. Rare, but still a possible side effect. As it seemed to be the only side effect I was experiencing, he told me to be sure to keep hydrated and keep away from dairy.

I wish I had known it could have been a side effect. Going from being extremely constipated to having uncontrollable diarrhea pretty much overnight is pretty disconcerting when you are pregnant. All in all, I just wanted to make sure that baby was okay.

Happy all was okay (well, all things considered) I went home realizing how little I am prepared for the arrival of my Kiwi after hearing a woman in the neighbouring room going into labour at 31 weeks.

I really need to step my game up.

I hope this may help another mommy to be that has this type of reaction to the shot, and it makes their day a little less stressful to know that other people are going through it. I am not a doctor and would of course always reccomend calling your doctor for the safety of yourself and your baby, but sometimes having that peace of mind going into the hospital really helps.

Anyway, until next time.

I’ll keep on pretending my way through this.

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