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Pregnancy Topics..

You are here : home > Pregnancy > Medical Aspects of Pregnancy > Tetanus Toxoid (TT) Vaccine during Pregnancy

Tetanus Toxoid (TT) Vaccine during Pregnancy

Tetanus is responsible for the death of around 215,000 newborn babies every year. Being immunised with the Tetanus Toxoid Vaccine during pregnancy ensures that neither the mother nor the baby get affected by the most potent microbial poison known to mankind. Read on to find out all there is to know about Tetanus and its Vaccinations for pregnant women.

What is Tetanus?

Tetanus is a life-threatening disease that is caused by a common bacterium called Clostridium Tetani entering the body by way of a wound. Anything from a little scratch or gash on the skin, to a deep puncture wound from a burn, dog bite, lacerations, etc. can aid penetration of the bacteria into the skin. Once inside the skin, it produces a toxin called tetanospasmin, into the bloodstream. Not for nothing has this toxin been termed as the most potent known microbial poison. Once released, the poison attacks the central nervous system, blocking nerve signals from the spinal cord to and from the muscles.

After an incubation period varying from 3 – 21 days, The first sign of tetanus can be seen through mild contractions or spasms of the jaw muscles, thereby giving the disease its common name, - Lockjaw. It will then cause neck stiffness, stiffness in abdominal muscles, difficulty in swallowing and cause convulsions and muscle spasms severe enough to cause spinal fractures. Other symptoms may include elevated blood pressure, fever, rapid heart rate and sweating. Owing to its resistance to heat and other chemical agents, Tetanus is fatal in 30 to 40 percent of cases.

Neonatal Tetanus and Tetanus Toxoid Vaccine during Pregnancy

Neonatal Tetanus is a very fatal condition responsible for around 215,000 deaths every year worldwide. Neonatal tetanus affects newborn infants, mostly due to the use of contaminated cutting instruments on unhealed umbilical stumps. Affected babies usually have no immunity because their mother has not been vaccinated and therefore has no immunity herself. It is thus of utmost importance that the pregnant mother be immunised with the Tetanus Toxoid or TT vaccine before she gives birth. This immunisation can be administered to all women of childbearing age and particularly to would-be mothers.

A universal standard for TT immunisation is followed by most countries for maternal health care. If a woman happens to carry a wound that is tetanus prone, and this includes women who have undergone an unsafe abortion, TT immunisation is very vital to prevent probable tetanus risks. In rural areas, it is very important to ensure that the TT vaccine is administered because many deliveries take place in unhygienic conditions.

Tetanus Vaccination

Tetanus can be prevented effortlessly through proper vaccinations.

  • Infants below the age of seven in India are generally given a combined DTaP vaccine for Diphtheria, Tetanus, and Acellular Pertussis as part of their routine immunisation.
  • A routine booster shot of Td is recommended every 10 years for adults.

Administering the TT Vaccine

The American Congress of Obstetrics and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommend the following schedule for vaccinating pregnant women after screening their medical reports thoroughly:

  • If she has never been immunised, three doses should be administered in 0, 4, and 6-12 months.
  • If her immunisation records are not known, at least two doses should be administered in the late second or third trimester (one of which should be TDaP).
  • If the vaccination is not administered in pregnancy: a dose should be administered postpartum.

The healthcare provider is required to vigorously shake the vial containing the vaccine to ensure that the sediment at the bottom gets thoroughly mixed with the fluid. A shake test is mandatory, in order to ensure that the vaccine has not encountered any damage while it was frozen and thawed.

Apart from administering the suggested doses, it must be ensured that while tetanus toxoid provides the necessary protection to the foetus by transferring the tetanus antibodies to it, clean and hygienic practices are extremely important during delivery so as to effectively prevent maternal and neonatal tetanus.

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Jolien.5 years ago
very good article on Tetanus providing every detail and information. please do suggest the number of doses required to get complete protection and how long does this provide protection?
Manasvi Naik.5 years ago
very informative article. many deaths are caused due to tetanus and it can be easily prevented by vaccination so we should all get vacdcinated. even minor cuts or wounds need to be treatd properly so as to avoid this infection.
sagarika.5 years ago
tetanus vaccination is very important especially for pregnant women as they prevent the deadly tetanus infection. this article is good for creating awareness about tetanus and all pregnant woman and would be mothers should get this immunization.
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Discussion Forum - Recent Posts
What is TT vaccine? Why do pregnant women need to be vaccinated with TT vaccine? How many doses of TT are needed for providing protection against Tetanus?
Ramesh Sarang
TT vaccine prevents tetanus infection. It helps the body to create antibodies against the tetanus toxin (tetanospasmin). When exposed to Clostridium tetani bacterium, it protects from the illness in t...
Tetanus is a life-threatening disease It is caused by the toxin of a bacterium called Clostridium tetani. The bacteria enters the body through an open wound. It could through a tiny prick or scratch o...
TT vaccination prevents tetanus. A complete course that provides full protection condists of 5 doses. this creates antibodies in the body against the bacteria and thsu provide protection. For babies, ...
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