Malaria During Pregnancy

Epidemiology

Malaria infection during pregnancy can have adverse effects on both mother and fetus, including maternal anemia, fetal loss, premature delivery, intrauterine growth retardation, and delivery of low birth-weight infants (<2500 g or <5.5 pounds).

It is a particular problem for women in their first and second pregnancies and for women who are HIV-positive.

The problems that malaria infection causes differ somewhat by the type of malaria transmission area: stable (high) or unstable (low) transmission.

  • In high transmission areas, women have gained a level of immunity to malaria that wanes somewhat during pregnancy. Malaria infection is more likely to result in severe maternal anemia and delivery of low birth-weight infants.
  • In low transmission areas, women generally have developed no immunity to malaria. Malaria infection is more likely to result in severe malaria disease, maternal anemia, premature delivery, or fetal loss.


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