A passive immunity acquired by the fetus or newborn from the mother via the placental transfer of antibodies during pregnancy and via breast milk. This type of immunity is short-lived, lasting the first six months of the newborn’s life.
Adaptive immunity is divided into two types: natural immunity and artificial immunity. Natural immunity is further divided into natural passive immunity and natural active immunity. Artificial immunity can also be divided into artificial passive immunity and artificial active immunity.
Passive immunity is typically short lived (compared to active immunity). Passive immunity may be naturally acquired or artificially acquired. Maternal passive immunity is one type of naturally acquired passive immunity wherein the maternal antibodies are passed through the placenta to the fetus during the third month of gestation. Another means is by passing the antibodies in the breast milk when breastfeeding.
Compare: natural active immunity, artificial passive immunity
See also: passive immunity