Surgeon general recommends pertussis vaccination for moms-to-be

NOBLESVILLE, Ind. - Safety is first in mind for most moms-to-be, so it’s no wonder a new recommendation is stirring conversation among pregnant women.

The U.S. surgeon general’s office has recommended soon-to-be mothers get the pertussis, or whooping cough, vaccination in the weeks leading up to birth.

For Sierra in Noblesville, the end of the school year was anything but comfortable.

"It was in May and the trees are blooming and the weather is changing and allergies are really bad," mom Lori Stolt said.

Stolt assumed the coughing was a result of allergies. But their doctor tested Sierra for pertussis and the test came back positive.

"She really didn't have that whooping sound when she coughed," Stolt said.

The family was shocked by the diagnosis because vaccinations are a priority in their home.

The office of the surgeon general recommended that all pregnant women get the pertussis vaccine in the third trimester, saying "those high antibody levels will protect the newborn during the first two months of life before the baby starts getting their own shots."

That’s a recommendation Stolt said she would run with today if she was having another baby.

She said it is part of the reason she will continue to keep her family’s vaccines on a regular schedule.

“It's available. It's there. They've done research. I don't understand why you wouldn't -- it's a little bit selfish because if your child does get something, you're going to pass it on," Stolt said.

Officials with the Indiana State Department of Health said regular vaccinations are critical.

For the last two years, reported cases of pertussis increased in Indiana. In 2010, it was the cause of at least two deaths.

Check with your doctor to see how often your family needs to get the pertussis vaccination.

Doctors say it is important to remind any adults in the family -- who plan to be around a baby -- they need to get vaccinated too.

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