Among the major ailments that take a toll on the global human population every year, ‘Malaria’ deserves a special mention.
This ailment is spread through biting by female infected mosquitoes. However, infected blood transfusion can also be the cause. Malaria can occur to any one and at anytime but the prevalence increases in the monsoon months, since this is breeding season for mosquitoes.
How serious can malaria in pregnancy be? Well to answer that we present to you an overview on – malaria.
Malaria And Pregnancy:
A pregnant woman gets malaria when she is infected by the Plasmodium falciparum parasite (1).
- If it is during the first time pregnancy, the consequences can be very serious.
- The parasite infecting the woman can affect the fetal placenta, exposing both the fetus and the woman to risk.
- If left untreated, it can cause abortion or a premature delivery. Affected women may give birth to a baby that is seriously underweight too.
- Only in rare cases, malaria can get transmitted to the fetus; in such a case, the unborn child’s survival rate is very slim.
As it is, malaria in pregnancy is a major reason behind maternal morbidity globally. This is why it is utmost important to diagnose the illness early.
Symptoms Of Malaria In Pregnant Women:
Pregnant women, who get infected with Malaria, face the risk of immunity level reduction. In such women, onset of malaria paves way for certain symptoms and complications of malaria in pregnancy. The shivering and fever is quite commonplace. The symptoms begin to appear approximately 2 weeks after a woman is bitten by an infected mosquito.
Other major symptoms of malaria in pregnancy are:
Not all symptoms appear in every infected and pregnant woman, as it is. Since many of these symptoms coincide with those of flu, only a proper blood test can reveal whether the woman has malaria or not.
[ Read: Fever During Pregnancy ]
Diagnosis Of Malaria In Pregnant Women:
Microscopic diagnosis is the best way to detect the presence of malaria parasites in the body and bloodstream of an infected and pregnant woman.
Rapid detection tests can often skip existence of parasites. In case a pregnant woman is infected with malaria, she should be admitted in the wing for – neonatal care and infectious disease treatment – without delay.
[ Read: Torch Infection In Pregnancy ]
Treatment Options For Malaria In Pregnant Women:
It is important that a specialized crew, headed by an eminent doctor, begins malaria treatment in pregnancy to ensure the health of the baby growing within is not impacted.
While the treatment varies on a case-by-case basis, listed below is the normal course of action taken when a woman expecting a baby is diagnosed with malaria:
1. The usage of drugs depends on which stage of pregnancy a woman is in. Treatment also varies on factors like existing immunity level of the woman in question. The doctors may need to analyze her level of immunity and check medical history for adverse reaction or allergy to prevalent malaria medications.
2. While usage of anti malaria medications such as quinine and chloroquine are common for treating women who have conceived. In some cases that may not be enough, as some patients grow resistant to these drugs.
3. Sulfadoxine and Mefloquine can safely be used in both the second and third semesters of pregnancy. The high fever, which can occur in some victims, is generally treated with antipyretics (2).
4. It becomes necessary to treat malaria-induced complications in a pregnant woman. Doctors need to keep a tab on fluid replacement to evade the formation of pulmonary edema in such patients.
5. Some pregnant women also suffer from serious anaemia after being infected by the Malaria causing parasite. Intervention of infectious disease specialists can be required in some such complex cases of malaria.
[ Read: Drugs Used In Pregnancy ]
Yes, Malaria can be dangerous, however with timely medical intervention both mother and baby can be nursed back to good health. We urge you to stay away from mosquito-laden situations and use the purest water for your drinking and hygiene purposes.
If you know someone who is expecting and is diagnosed with Malaria, make sure she receives quality health care, a good diet and a lot of care.
Do share your experiences and views with us.
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