Spider Bite When Pregnant: Symptoms, Safety, And Treatment

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Allergies, lesions, pus, and scars are just some outcomes of a spider bite. When you are pregnant, the symptoms may take on a more dangerous form, and could lead to nasty complications for you and your developing baby.

Here, we talk about how spider bite during pregnancy may affect you and what you may do to treat them.

Are Spider Bites Dangerous During Pregnancy?

Most spider bites are likely to be harmless. Some spider bites such as brown recluse or black widow could lead to serious illnesses (such as anaphylactic shock) or death. This is regardless of pregnancy and may happen with anyone. If possible, try to identify the spider that has bit you to go for the right treatment (1).

Identifying Spider Bites

Certain spiders that are poisonous and responsible for causing bites are discussed below (2).

Widow spiders: They do not come out unless evoked. They are usually present in quiet, undisturbed, or dark places such as basements and closets. Out of five widow spider species, the bites of three black widow spiders are likely to cause severe poisoning. You might recognize them with their reddish-orange ‘hourglass’ shape on their belly.

Recluse spiders: They are also found in quiet and dark areas similar to the black widows but usually come during the night. There are about 12 species out of which only 50% may cause bites. You might recognize them with their fiddle/violin-shaped markings on the upper body. Some other poisonous recluse spiders could be orange, pale brown, reddish-brown, or gray in color.

[Read: Tips To Treat Insect Bite During Pregnancy]

Symptoms Of Spider Bites During Pregnancy

Signs and symptoms of spider bites are quite apparent. Find below some prominent symptoms of spider bite that might develop while pregnant.

  • Mild pain
  • Burning sensation
  • Itching
  • Rash
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Muscle ache
  • Headache
  • Excessive sweating
  • Tremor
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Swelling of your lymph nodes
  • Stiffness or pain in joints
  • Malaise

[Read: Is It Safe To Use Insect Repellent During Pregnancy]

Treating Spider Bites In Pregnancy

Early treatment may help mitigate the symptoms and after-effects of spider bites in pregnancy. So, you need to seek medical attention and treat spider bite as soon as you discover it. Here are some effective treatments that may help you alleviate the symptoms of spider bites during pregnancy.

1. Apply cold packs

Clean the affected skin with water and mild soap. Then apply cold packs to the bitten area to mitigate the inflammation and pain resulting due to the bite. A cold compress may provide you relief from pain significantly  (3).

2. Use bandage:

Pressure immobilization bandage may help in treating a big black spider bite. You need to bandage the area of your body, such as leg or arm firmly, and stay calm before seeking medical treatment (4). Also, if the spider has bitten your hand or leg then elevate your hand or leg.

3. Take over-the-counter medicine

Having over-the-counter pain reliever, such as paracetmol, could also help you get rid of pain resulting due to the spider bite. It is good to have a word with your doctor before taking a powerful pain reliever while expecting (3) (4).

[Read: Painkillers During Your Pregnancy]

Preventing Spider Bites During Pregnancy

It is always better to prevent bites during pregnancy than treating it later on. Here are some prevention tips to safeguard your pregnancy from the harmful effects of spider bites (1) (5) (6).

  • Wear long-sleeve clothes
  • Use effective insect repellents, such as Picaridin or DEET, on your footwear and clothing.
  • Get rid of old items, boxes, clothes, and unwanted objects from your house.
  • Stay cautious of areas such as corners behind furniture, undisturbed piles of wood, and seldom-opened containers.
  • Install tight-fitting screens on your doors and windows to keep spiders out of your house.
  • Vacuum spider webs and spiders and using a sealed bag dispose them out of your house

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Are spiders attracted to pregnant women?

There is no research or speculation that states about spiders getting attracted to pregnant women.

2. Can a spider bite cause a miscarriage?

Spiders have a substance called venom that may cause venomous bite (toxic) and may increase the risk of miscarriage in pregnant women though uncommon (5).

Spider bites might be annoying, and may sometimes cause complications. You can only avoid the complications by preventing the bites. Staying alert and getting timely medical attention could help. Take precautions and avoid being in areas where the spiders are likely to reside.

References:

1. Insect bites and stings; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health (2017)
2. When Poisonous Spiders Bite; University of Rochester Medical Center
3. Spider Bites; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Institutes of Health
4. Apply first aid Bites and stings; TAFE NSW (2007)
5. Don’t Let the Bugs Bite! — Tips for Bug Bite Prevention & Treatment During Pregnancy; Lamaze International
6. Insect Bites and Stings; Winchester Hospital | Beth Israel Lahey Health