Prevention and Treatment of Malaria in Pregnant Women| Blog

Prevention and Treatment of Malaria in Pregnant Women

Prevention and Treatment of Malaria in Pregnant Women

by: Dr. Pooja Mehta
Sr. Consultant - Obstetrics & Gynecology

Malaria is a disease caused by a plasmodium parasite, transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. Malaria contributes to antenatal anemia and slowing of fetal growth, especially in first-time mothers. It is thought that these effects harm the mother and baby, and interventions to prevent or mitigate the effects of malaria are often recommended. Malaria causes symptoms that include- Fever, Feeling tired, Vomiting and Headache. In severe cases, it can cause Yellowing of the skin, Seizures, Coma or death.

When do the malaria symptoms begin in pregnant women?

Symptoms usually begin ten to fifteen days after being bitten. If it does not get treated properly, people may have recurrences of the disease months later. In those who have recently survived an infection, reinfection usually causes milder symptoms.

Malaria during pregnancy is a major cause of maternal morbidity and leads to poor birth outcomes. Pregnant women are more prone to complications of malaria infection than non-pregnant women. Prevention involves chemoprophylaxis and mosquito avoidance. Treatment involves anti-malarial drugs and supportive measures.

Prevention From Malaria:

Methods used to prevent malaria include

  • Medications
  • Mosquito elimination
  • Prevention of bites

Prevention of malaria may be more cost effective than the treatment of it. Vector control can be done to avoid the chances of malaria. For individual protection, the most effective insect repellents are based on DEET or Picaridin. Insecticide-treated mosquito nets (ITNs) and indoor residual spraying (IRS) are highly effective in preventing malaria among children in areas where malaria is common. Prompt treatment of confirmed cases with artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) may also reduce transmission.

Community participation and health education strategies that promote awareness of malaria and the importance of control measures have been successfully used to reduce the incidence of malaria in some areas of the developing world. Education can also inform people to cover areas of stagnant, still water, such as water tanks that are the best place for breeding grounds for the parasite and mosquito, wearing full covered clothes.

Treatment of Malaria:

 Chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine are considered safe to use in all trimesters of pregnancy. Mefloquine is the agent of choice for chloroquine-resistant areas, and evidence suggests it is not associated with an increased risk to the fetus. Although the atovaquone-proguanil drug combination is not currently recommended for use during pregnancy, limited data suggest that it is not harmful to the fetus. Doxycycline and primaquine are not recommended during pregnancy.

Pregnant women should avoid traveling to places that are malaria-endemic. And if travel cannot be avoided, measures to prevent mosquito bites, along with an effective chemoprophylaxis regimen, should be implemented.

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