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Why is malaria in pregnancy dangerous?

Pregnancy is a critical period which comes with innumerable health problems. But, we cannot take medicines to get relief from it. But, what if you are suffering from something severe like malaria? Malaria can lead to complications in both mother and baby.  Mother affected during the first trimester of pregnancy increases the risk of miscarriage.

How can you get infected with Malaria during Pregnancy?

Malaria is an infectious disease caused by the Plasmodium parasite transmitted by the infected female Anopheles mosquito. As compared to the non-pregnant women, pregnant women are more prone to this malaria infection. there are four types of malaria parasites – Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium ovale. Among all four, Plasmodium falciparum is most dangerous and can cause severe illness by entering into the bloodstream. This parasite further enters into the liver, get multiplies and then further infect the red blood cells can cause multiple organ damage.

Causes of Malaria Infection:

Loss of Immunity: Due to decreased immunoglobulins, pregnancy causes weakening of the immune system, making an expectant woman more vulnerable to malaria infection.

Placenta as a new organ: Placenta is a new organ that grows inside the body of a pregnant woman. It causes the infection to pass through immunity circle and hence, infective organism get multiplied.

HIV infection: Woman having infected with HIV have high chances to get malaria due to poor immunity.

Symptoms of Malaria During Pregnancy

In the early stage of malaria infection, the symptoms could be as similar as in influenza or viral infection. The common symptoms of malaria during pregnancy are:

  • High Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle Pain
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Cough
  • Jaundice
  • Diarrhea
  • Splenomegaly
  • Respiratory distress
  • General malaise
  • Pale appearance

It is essential to diagnose and treat in pregnancy and malaria as early as possible, as it can be fatal both for baby as well as the mother.