By Dr. Rahul Manchanda, Gynaecology
Women can be at their weakest in terms of their health and strength during the months of pregnancy. Tender and sensitive might have been better words, but extra care is always taken by pregnant women to ensure that they have a safe delivery. While there are many disorders that could afflict a pregnant woman, malaria is a real possibility, particularly in places where the mosquito menace is rampant.
If a pregnant woman gets afflicted with malaria, she could face many difficulties, including a miscarriage.
- Malaria is a viral caused due to a particular breed of mosquitoes. If the mosquito bites a pregnant woman, then it can infect her.
- Studies do indicate that pregnant women could be more susceptible to the malaria infection than other women.
- The ideal way for pregnant women is to take precautions to ensure that they stay protected from mosquitoes, for which using mosquito nets, sprays and creams is recommended.
- The person could observe symptoms only a little late and in some cases, symptoms may not be very obvious.
- Typical symptoms of malaria include high fever, chill accompanied by shivering, headaches and so on.
- These symptoms may not be quite different in the case of pregnant women, but many women have been observed to have lower levels of fever.
- Immediate diagnosis is essential to establish that it is indeed malaria and this is done through a blood test.
Once detected, the doctor will place the woman under medication. Care will be taken to ensure that the foetus in the womb is not harmed in any manner due to the medicine being consumed by the mother.
If malaria is occured in pregnant women, particularly if it is identified that the underlying reason is the plasmodium falciparum parasite, then such women have to take extra care since it can lead to dangerous complications.
- In addition to the known symptoms already mentioned, malaria in pregnant women can cause jaundice, anaemia and low blood sugar.
- If serious complications occur, there are chances of kidney and liver failure as well.
- If the conditions are not promptly treated, then the health of the baby can be affected, leading to stillbirth or premature birth and in rare cases, miscarriage as well.
- The most important part is the timely treatment given to pregnant women as soon as malaria is detected.
- In the absence of such treatment, there is a possibility that the baby could also be affected by malaria and then it becomes very complicated.
- As mentioned, prevention is the best way to escape being affected by malaria during pregnancy.
- Pregnant women usually take more precautions and since they also make frequent visits to the doctor, any abnormality is detected and treated, but they should avoid getting affected by malaria. Even if it occurs, immediate treatment should be offered to avoid any complications and to save the baby.