Td-IPV (tetanus, diphtheria and polio) vaccine

(Date: October 2016. Version: 1)

This factsheet has been written for members of the public by the UK Teratology Information Service (UKTIS). UKTIS is a not-for-profit organisation funded by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) on behalf of UK Health Departments. UKTIS has been providing scientific information to health care providers since 1983 on the effects that medicines, recreational drugs and chemicals may have on the developing baby during pregnancy.

What is it?

Td-IPV vaccine protects against tetanus, diphtheria and polio. Most people in the UK over the age of 10 years who require booster vaccination against any of these illnesses will receive a vaccine called Revaxis® that protects against all three. Single vaccines against these illnesses are not available in the UK.

Is it safe to have the Td-IPV vaccine in pregnancy?

There are no specific studies of use of Td-IPV vaccines in pregnancy. Tetanus, diphtheria and polio are serious and/or life-threatening. The Department of Health in the UK therefore advises that pregnant women should be vaccinated if protection is required, as the risk from these illnesses to both mother and baby is likely to be far greater than any possible risk from the vaccine.

Studies of over 6,600 pregnant women who received a similar vaccine called Tdap-IPV (which protects against tetanus, diphtheria, polio, and also whooping cough) after 28 weeks of pregnancy have shown that women who were vaccinated were no more likely to have a stillbirth, a baby with a low birth weight, or a baby who is born earlier than expected than women who were not vaccinated with Tdap-IPV. Because very few women have received Tdap-IPV in early pregnancy it is not yet possible to say whether vaccination during the first trimester of pregnancy might be linked to miscarriage or birth defects in the baby. The little information that we do have so far does not, however, suggest that there would be any increased risk of these outcomes.

Can I still have the whooping cough vaccination (Boostrix IPV®) in pregnancy if I have recently had a Td-IPV booster?

Yes, ideally four weeks apart. Because both Boostrix IPV® and the Td-IPV vaccine protect against tetanus, diphtheria and polio, this is a common question. The Td-IPV vaccine does not protect against whooping cough and there is no single whooping cough vaccine available in the UK. Women who have recently had a Td-IPV booster should therefore still receive the whooping cough vaccine after week 16 of pregnancy to protect the baby from catching whooping cough after birth (for more information please see the bump leaflet on whooping cough vaccination in pregnancy). It is recommended that the Td-IPV and whooping cough vaccines ideally be given four weeks apart. 

A single study has shown that women who received the whooping cough vaccine in pregnancy following a recent (within two years) tetanus booster were not at increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes compared to women vaccinated against whooping cough who had not had a recent tetanus booster.

Will my baby need extra monitoring during pregnancy?

Being vaccinated with Td-IPV during pregnancy is not expected to cause any problems that would require extra monitoring of your baby.

Who can I talk to if I have questions?

If you have any questions regarding the information in this leaflet please discuss them with your health care provider. They can access more detailed medical and scientific information from

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General information 

Up to 1 out of every 5 pregnancies ends in a miscarriage, and 1 in 40 babies are born with a birth defect. These are referred to as the background population risks.  They describe the chance of these events happening for any pregnancy before taking factors such as the mother’s health during pregnancy, her lifestyle, medicines she takes and the genetic make up of her and the baby’s father into account.

Medicines use in pregnancy

Most medicines used by the mother will cross the placenta and reach the baby. Sometimes this may have beneficial effects for the baby.  There are, however, some medicines that can harm a baby’s normal development.  How a medicine affects a baby may depend on the stage of pregnancy when the medicine is taken. If you are on regular medication you should discuss these effects with your doctor/health care team before becoming pregnant.

If a new medicine is suggested for you during pregnancy, please ensure the doctor or health care professional treating you is aware of your pregnancy.

When deciding whether or not to use a medicine in pregnancy you need to weigh up how the medicine might improve your and/or your unborn baby’s health against any possible problems that the drug may cause. Our bumps leaflets are written to provide you with a summary of what is known about use of a specific medicine in pregnancy so that you can decide together with your health care provider what is best for you and your baby.   

Every pregnancy is unique. The decision to start, stop, continue or change a prescribed medicine before or during pregnancy should be made in consultation with your health care provider. It is very helpful if you can record all your medication taken in pregnancy in your hand held maternity records.

Disclaimer: This information is not intended to replace the individual care and advice of your health care provider. New information is continually becoming available. Whilst every effort will be made to ensure that this information is accurate and up to date at the time of publication, we cannot cover every eventuality and the information providers cannot be held responsible for any adverse outcomes following decisions made on the basis of this information. We strongly advise that printouts should NOT be kept for any length of time, or for “future reference” as they can rapidly become out of date.

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