Study shows that pregnant women pass DTaP effects to children

A new study revealed that infants born to women who were given the DTaP vaccine while pregnant had higher levels of pertussis antibodies than those that were born to unvaccinated women.

The antibody levels are considered sufficient enough to protect infants against pertussis, or whooping cough, before their first DTaP at two months of age. Dr. Abbey Hardy-Fairbanks, an obstetrician at the University of Iowa, called the two month period one of significant pertussis morbidity and mortality, according to

"This is the first evidence to document that pertussis immunization during pregnancy is likely to be beneficial to infants when they are most vulnerable to pertussis disease," Hardy-Fairbanks said at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America, reports. "[Physicians] should consider vaccination of women during pregnancy with DTaP."

In the progressive cohort study, 23 percent of pregnant women received the vaccine. The 73 percent who were not administered the vaccine - the control group - had not had it at least two years. Of those who were administered the vaccine, 25 percent were given it in their first trimester, 50 percent in their second trimester and the remaining in their third trimester.

Blood samples were taken from the mothers and children and measured for pertussis antigens. Newborns in the TDaP group showed substantially higher concentrations than their mothers and higher concentrations than infants in the control group at the beginning of the study.

At month seven following the inoculations, however, infants born to vaccinated mothers showed lower concentrations than the control group. Though not statistically significant, Hardy-Fairbanks believes the results may show some blunting of the infant immune response to the vaccine, reports.

By the time the infants received their booster shots, the antibody levels were essentially equivalent in the groups.