TT Injections While Pregnant

Tetanus is a life-threatening bacterial disease cause by the toxin of a bacterium known as clostridium petani. The bacteria enters the body through an open wound which can be a tiny prick or a scratch on the skin. It is more common when a deep puncture wound such as a cut, burn, bite or an ulcer. It affects a person’s nervous system and prove fatal in case left untreated.

Neonatal tetanus occurs in newborns via infection of the unhealed umbilical stump, where the umbilical cord is cut via non-sterile instrument. In order to maximise the maternal antibody response and passive antibody transfer to the infant, the tetanus vaccine is recommended.

Schedule of vaccination

Tetanus vaccine is also referred to as tetanus toxoid. It is an anatoxin vaccine. Tetanus is also referred to as lockjaw as it results in locking a person’s neck and jaw.

The TT injection is a vital pregnancy vaccination. It is needed in case the pregnancy woman has not been previously vaccinated or the immunisation status of the mother is unknown. Two doses of TT are to be given prior to delivery. These two doses need to be taken a month apart. The 2nd dose of injection in pregnancy needs to be completed four weeks prior to delivery.

In case this is not you first pregnancy, the number of TT injections will depend on the status in the previous pregnancy and the duration in between the two pregnancies. In case you haven’t’ taken any TT injection in a previous pregnancy you need to take two doses of TT injection. 

Suppose you have taken two doses of TT injection in previous pregnancy. The gap in between the pregnancy is less than three years, in that case, you only need to take one dose of TT injection. This dose is known as booster dose.

In case you have taken two doses of TT injection in the previous pregnancy and the gap is more than three years, then you must take two doses of TT injection.

In case you are confused if you are protected against Tetanus or not, you are advised to consult your doctor to check the status and take the TT injection if needed. 

How can you prevent tetanus infection?

The primary strategies to prevent the disease include the following:

  • Clean delivery i.e. using sterile techniques for delivery
  • Identification and implementation of corrective action in case of high-risk areas
  • High immunisation coverage of pregnant women

Any adverse effects of the TT vaccine for pregnant women?

Few adverse effects of the TT injection in pregnancy are:


It is felt where the shot has been given. It is a common side effect while administering the vaccine. It occurs due to a person’s mild reaction towards the injection and is inevitable. It is likely to fade on its own.


It may be seen locally at the injection site with or without tenderness. It is not uncommon. OTC medicines for pain may be used consulting the doctor.


It is common to feel tired after getting the shot. It happens as the body is responding to fight against the tetanus toxoid.


Some people might experience swelling of the arms where they received the injection. However, it doesn’t need any medical intervention and might become well on its own.


Itching, hives and rashes near the injection site are some rare symptoms that may occur in people having a severe allergic reaction to the vaccine. The symptoms may start within a few minutes or hours of receiving the vaccine.


It’s an uncommon symptom and will go away on its own. However, if it may last for more than a couple of days, you need to seek medical advice.

Stomach disturbances:

Vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea are another set of frequently encountered gastrointestinal disturbances that are likely to subside within time.

Muscle and joint pain

They are fairly common side effects that can be treated naturally.

Why do you need the TT vaccine in pregnancy?

You will need the TT vaccine to prevent you and the baby from getting a tetanus infection. It is a life-threatening disease for which there is no cure but it can be easily prevented with the vaccine. You may get infected with the disease which is common in dust and soil which may enter your body via an open wound.

By getting the vaccine, your body will make antibodies to fight against the bacteria and prevent the disease from developing. Your antibodies are passed on to the growing baby when you get the vaccine so that your baby is also protected from the disease in the first few month of life until he/she gets the first TT vaccine which is usually between six to eight weeks.

When and how many TT injections you get in pregnancy will depend on whether you’ve got a vaccine recently, the number of pregnancies you’ve ha and how far apart your pregnancies are spaced out. 

The TT vaccine from your first pregnancy will protect you from the disease for up to three years if you’ve had two doses of the vaccine and five years if you’ve had three doses. So, if you get pregnancy again within this time, you might only need one booster dose in your next pregnancy. If there is a larger gap between the first and the second pregnancy, you will probably get two doses of the vaccine.

The site of the injection can be a little painful after TT shot. The doctor will try and do it where they think it will hurt the least, possibly in your butt cheek but you can feel the pain at the site of the injection for a few days. To relieve the pain and swelling, you can apply an ice pack to the site. Don’t take ibuprofen to relive the pain, as it isn’t considered safe for use during pregnancy. Try to manage the pain without using any painkiller and use ice to numb the area.


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