Malaria in Pregnant Women

Pregnant Women Treatment for Malaria

Malaria in pregnant women should not be overlooked as just another disease. It needs proper care and effective treatment. Women living in sub Saharan or Latin American countries are more susceptible to get malaria. So get treated for malaria if you are pregnant. Since the disease may lead to stillbirths, premature deliveries so proper precautions should be taken.

Malaria in pregnant women is harmful not just for the mother but for the unborn child as well. It may lead to anaemia and maternal illness in pregnant women. It may even slow the growth of the baby and cause tiredness and fatigue in mother.

Effects of Malaria -Various results have shown that plasmodium falciparum malaria is more common in pregnant women who attend antenatal care. Preventive steps need to be taken in order to prevent malaria from occurring. Malaria parasites may destroy the red blood cells in the body which leads anaemia. If proper treatment is not followed on time then there is also a fear that the parts of the brain or other organs of the body may also become affected. The situation becomes aggravated and may even lead to death of the women.

Pregnant women residing in places where there is more of water stagnation or garbage dumps are more prone to get malaria infection since such places are the breeding ground of mosquitoes. Sometimes people develop immunity to the disease and may become asymptomatic carriers of malaria which if not checked can lead to an epidemic.

Pregnant women are more vulnerable to get malaria since they have a weak immune system and thus catch the infection easily leading to serious illness and deaths. More than 45 million women become pregnant in malaria endemic areas each year. This if not checked can prove deadly for both the mother and the child as it can lead to impaired foetal growth, abortion and still birth. Sometimes the child born has extremely low weight. Premature deliveries are also possible in some of the cases. In sub Saharan Africa around 40% of children born have a low birth weight due to maternal malaria and almost 400,000 infants die every year because of malarial deaths.

Preventing Malaria in Pregnant Women- World Health Organisation has recommended a three pronged approach which needs to be followed for the prevention as well as treatment of pregnancy- insecticide treated nets (ITNs), intermittent preventive treatment, effective case management of malarial illness. These are some of the strategies to be followed especially in sub Saharan and Latin American countries where there is a high prevalence rate of malaria. WHO recommends giving at least two doses of safe and effective anti malaria vaccine to all pregnant women residing in such areas. Drugs like chloroquine, pyrimethamine, proguanil, and mefloquine, are given routinely to women in their first or second pregnancy which helps in reducing anaemia in pregnant women.

Taking the drug amodiaquine, either alone or in combination with sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) has been found to be effective in eliminating the malaria parasite and the drug is known to have no side effects on women.

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