Ask the doctor: Can malaria terminate my pregnancy?

Ask the doctor: Can malaria terminate my pregnancy?

Ask the doctor: Can malaria terminate my pregnancy?

Can Malaria terminate your pregnancy?

The answer is YES; and it could do more than that; it could terminate you the pregnant woman as well! Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by plasodium parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female anopheles mosquitoes. Here in sub-saharan Africa, our region carries the highest share of the global Malaria burden, being home to 90% of the malaria cases and 92% of malaria deaths.

The rate of mortality from severe malaria in pregnancy is approximately 50% which is higher than in non-pregnant women and this raises great concern, which we can’t overlook. First time mothers(prime gravidae) are more predisposed to suffer features of severe malaria like anemia. Non-immune pregnant women are also at an increased risk of developing severe malaria in pregnancy

Infection from malaria in pregnancy could even be asymptomatic in many women and the peripheral blood film could even be negative. But in any case, the malaria could present many dangers which include the following:

  1. Increased risk of abortion: Abortion is the termination of pregnancy before 28 weeks of gestation
  2. Still birth: Still birth refers to producing a dead baby
  3. premature delivery: This refers to producing the baby more than 3 weeks before the baby is due ie before 37 weeks of gestation, but usually above 28 weeks.
  4. low infant birth weight:baby is born with weight below 2.5kgs

A pregnant women with malaria may develop certain features which will be alarming to the healthcare provider to enable them make proper assessment. Such features include:

  1. hypoglycemia: a state in which the body has decreased levels of circulating blood glucose.
  2. Anemia: a state in which the body has less blood or less blood components.
  3. pulmonary edema: a state in which the body may have fluid in your lungs, causing difficulty in breathing

But in all these, remember Malaria is preventable and curable and increased efforts are drammatically reducing the malaria burden in many places. So how can we prevent the bad effects of malaria in pregnancy? Here’s how;

  1. Always sleep under a treated mosquito net. Governments usually provide these for free to the pregnant women, so if you’re pregnant, just go to a government health centre and get one.
  2. Endeavor to always go for Ante Natal care(ANC). Minimum recommended number of times to go for ANC is 4.
  3. If you develop any fever whatsoever in pregnancy, please immediately visit the nearest health center or clinic for assessment .

Please remember that any infections acquired during pregnancy need to be worked on fast enough to save the mother and baby. Visiting your doctor physically should be a priority or you can contact any of our professional online doctors at for quick help so you don’t have to wait in line.

About the author

Samuel Kagamba is a medical doctor,computer programmer and entrepreneur; very passionate about developing technologies to improve healthcare delivery in Africa.Off duty, he loves soccer and making new friends.Follow him on twitter
@samuelkagamba or email him at facebook account: Samuel Kagamba.

Samuel Kagamba – who has written posts on Aferdoc Blog.

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