Birth never fails to amaze me. Last week whilst I was on nights is a classics example of this.
I was assessing a women who had only been in the premises of labour ward for 6 minutes before she delivered a baby boy. Shocked? She certainly was. Especially as 4 minutes prior to her waters breaking and baby Noah arriving in a huge flood of amniotic fluid, she was telling me what she had been doing earlier that day. She had been to Sainsburys, taken her toddler to a play group and popped into her doctors surgery where she received her free Whooping Cough vaccination. She still had the little round plaster on her arm where she had been jabbed.
As of the first week of this month, all pregnant women will be offered a vaccination against whooping cough in an urgent effort by the government to reduce the surge in deaths of small babies. Tragically ten children from across the UK have died from whooping cough in the first eight months of this year – up from seven in the whole of 2011. At present, babies are given a whooping cough jab when they are eight weeks old, followed by boosters at three and four months. They cannot have their vaccine any sooner as their immune systems are not developed enough for it to be effective. All nine babies who died from whooping cough this year have been under the age of eight weeks.
As a pregnant woman given the jab, your body will make antibodies (proteins that fight infections) that are passed on to your baby via the placenta. This will give your baby protection for the first few weeks of life. Invaluable right? Even if you have previously been immunised, it’s still encouraged to be vaccinated again to boost your immunity, as it helps protect your baby before he or she can start their own immunisations. The vaccine will be offered during your routine antenatal appointments with your midwife or GP.
For more information click here or speak to your midwife. Oh and in case you were wondering, Noah was a name on their list but due to the circumstances in which he was born, they thought it was rather apt.