Ask Yo Mama: Tdap in Pregnancy

Dear Yo Mama,   
I am feeling very nervous and scared about something I read.  My wife and I both did the tdap vaccination.    I was fine with it until I read on Facebook that somebody was saying you shouldn’t do it while you are pregnant.  This has me worried about autism.  I am trying to surrender but I woke up concerned today.  I don’t want to talk to my wife because I don’t want to freak her out. So that leaves me with no one to talk to.  If you have anything you could say that will take a good chunk of this concern off my back that would be awesome.  I don’t trust the cdc. 
I want to let go of my fear and move forward.
Shot in the Dark
Dear Shot in the Dark,
I’m so glad you reached out!  It takes bravery to give a voice to these fears.  When it comes to vaccines, there is no perfect answer.  There are risks with vaccines, and there are risks with the illnesses they prevent.  Each vaccine decision means weighing the specific risks of that illness (and the liklihood of contracting that illness) with the risks of the vaccine.  And we are always making our ‘best guess’ and can’t know the future.  It sucks.
But vaccines are useful and amazing, and a very good thing that we have them.  At the moment, there hasn’t been any consistent or convincing proof of a link between autism and vaccines.  Most studies have been debunked.  It seems there may be a slightly higher correlation in african american boys, and there is a question out there of whether the CDC covered up that subset in their studies.  I know the internet can be a scary place, and I trust my pediatrician (Dr. Roy Steinbock) the most when it comes to these things.  He’s smart, he’s well researched and he’s obsessed with the safety of kids.  A good pediatrician is a parent’s best ally.
I think the decision you made to have the Tdap during pregnancy is a smart one.  Whooping cough is pretty prevalent in Boulder (because so many don’t vaccinate).  And it can be fatal if a baby is very young, and it’s a pain in the butt at any age (6 weeks of coughing).  It’s the one vaccine I feel pretty strongly about.
As for having it during pregnancy, it’s listed as a slightly higher risk than some other drugs (class C), but again- you probably won’t give your baby the Dtap directly until later in the flu season (when your baby is a little older), so keeping it out of the house (by vaccinating the two of you) seems prudent.
Having a baby is shockingly anxiety producing, even before they are here. And it doesn’t end when they arrive.  As parents, we have to make a ton of decisions on behalf of our kids, and it’s overwhelming.  But you get more and more practice, and start to trust yourself- both your research and your instincts.  What I hear in your email is that you’re going to be an awesome dad 🙂
With love and support,
Yo Mama

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