DPT Immunization in Pregnancy

I am 32 weeks pregnant. Last week I sliced my thumb on broken glass and was given a tetanus shot at the emergency room. The nurse assured me the shot would not harm my baby but I am still concerned because I know there is a limited range of medications safe for pregnant women. Can tetanus cause any harm to my baby?

Thank you,


Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

Dear Kristen,

I think you can be reassured that this immunization has been shown to NOT be associated with fetal or pregnancy complications. We will never say any substance is safe for use in pregnancy because it is impossible and not ethical to do controlled studies of such medications in pregnant women.

The American College of Ob/Gyn recommends the use of tetanus/diphtheria toxoids in pregnancy for those women at risk or in whom no booster has been given within the past 10 years. The actual diseases of tetanus and diphtheria produce severe morbidity and mortality and a newborn tetanus mortality rate of 60%.

Try not to worry.

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