Lyme Disease During Pregnancy - Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment

Lyme Disease In Pregnancy

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Are you suffering from Lyme disease during pregnancy? Do you suffer from constant fatigue all the time? if you nodded along in agreement, you might want to read our post below.

Pregnancy is a delicate phase, as your baby gets exposed to whatever you contract. There are several diseases you can contract if you’re pregnant and Lyme disease is one of them. It is important that you stay aware of the different diseases you can contract while you are pregnant, so that you can avoid them. If you suffer from Lyme disease in pregnancy- or think you may have been exposed to it. You are probably wondering how it could affect you and your baby. Don’t worry; we have all the answers to your questions.

What is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease isn’t known to many. It begins when a tick bite becomes infected by the bacterium Borrelia burgdoferi. Ticks usually contract the infection by biting animals like deer and mice that are already infected bacterium. People who get bitten by ticks need not necessarily get Lyme disease unless they are infected by the bacterium.

Today, the scenarios and cases of Lyme disease have been increasing. The disease has spread in nearly all countries across the world, being the most concentrated towards the American continent.

Transmission And Causes Of Lyme Disease:

Lyme disease is transmitted from the bite of a special type of tick. These ticks mostly lie on animals like deer, mice, horses, squirrels, chipmunks, and raccoons. If these animals are infected with the bacterium Borrelia burgdoferi, the ticks immediately contract it and carry the infection.

[ Read: Preventing Insect Bites During Pregnancy ]

Symptoms Of Lyme Disease In Pregnancy:

There are several symptoms concerning Lyme disease while pregnant, however the most famous one is a bull’s eye rash. Other symptoms of this disease include:

  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Headaches
  • Fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Knee Problems
  • Arthritis(1)

[ Read: Ways To Cope With Fatigue During Pregnancy ]

How Common Is Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease is more common in the United States but is found to affect the population in every country. People who spend more time outdoors or those living in villages or rural areas are tend to get more infected than those in cities.

How Will Lyme Disease Affect My Baby During Pregnancy?

If you are worried that Lyme disease will affect your baby, don’t! There is a 50:50 chance that your baby can contract Lyme disease. Until today, there is no conclusive evidence that Lyme disease can affect your unborn baby. However, there have been scenarios where stillbirths occur, when the disease is contracted during the first trimester. Some studies also report infant deaths after birth. Some infant grow up with cardiovascular disorders, respiratory distress, mental disability and cortical blindness.

Medical technology has now advanced to give prior treatment as soon as you contract Lyme disease. You can adapt to this treatment and go on to have healthy babies.

Diagnosing Lyme Disease During Pregnancy:

Lyme disease is tough to diagnose, because most of its symptoms resemble other disorders. Also, many patients do not recall that they are bitten, mostly because it is painless. The only easy way to probably diagnose is the unique bull’s eye rash. If there rash is not visible, then the doctor prescribes for a blood test, usually 3-4 weeks after suspecting an infection. As the bacterium that causes Lyme disease is tough to isolate in normal blood test, complex isolation techniques are used such as:

  • ELISA: ELISA is probably the most common test to diagnose Lyme disease. It measures the level of antibodies against the bacteria causing the disease that are present in your body.
  • Western Blot: Western Blot is another test that identifies antibodies directed against a panel of proteins found on the bacteria. This test is generally advised to be performed if the ELISA test is either uncertain or positive.

Merely the presence of these antibodies does not prove that the Lyme disease bacteria is the reason for the symptoms.

[ Read: Symptoms Of Hives During Pregnancy ]

Treatment Of Lyme Disease In Pregnancy:

In early stages, Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics. The sooner you start with the treatment, the faster is your recovery. Antibiotics such as amoxicillin or doxycycline can be taken orally for 2-4 weeks as per the doctor’s advice. These antibiotics heal the rash and prevent subsequent infections.

Intravenous antibiotics are used in severe cases of the disease especially if your nervous system has been affected. Lyme disease with arthritis is also given intravenous antibiotics which help with a speedy recovery (2).

If you are pregnant, and fear getting infected with the disease, antibiotics like penicillin or amoxicillin help relieve the symptoms faster. Those allergic to penicillin are given erythromycin instead.

[ Read: Torch Infection During Pregnancy ]

Preventing Lyme Disease During Pregnancy:

Fortunately, the cause of Lyme disease is well known and the disease can easily be prevented. The essential point to note is to stay away from areas prone to deer ticks.

Try some of these tips to stay away from ticks:

  • Wear long sleeves, light woven clothing when walking in areas covered with thick forest or woods.
  • Always make sure you leave no loose ends in your clothing. Ensure to tucks your shirts in your pants, and wear socks to prevent ticks entering through the shoes.
  • Always walk in the center of the trails through the woods to avoid ticks from latching on from the grass nearby.
  • It is always better and safe to keep your lawn grass trimmed and as short as possible.
  • Spray tick repellents with DEET to your clothing before stepping out in the woods nearby. A popular tick repellant called the permethrin is designed with DEET is available in almost all stores.
  • Get yourself and your pets (if any) checked regularly for ticks, especially after a trip outdoors.
  • Always check your clothes and put them to wash after a trip from outdoors preventing the infestation of ticks.

[ Read: Symptoms Of Malaria During Pregnancy ]

General awareness about the disease must be spread among all those who knew little about this disease and how it occurs. A little awareness about the disease and some precaution can keep you safe from Lyme disease in pregnancy!

Did you suffer from Lyme disease when pregnant? How did the doctor treat it? Tell us here.

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