Malaria is the second most common cause of infections disease-related death in the world, after tuberculosis. Malaria is one of the most preventable causes of adverse birth outcomes. It is a disease caused by the plasmodium parasite found in the female anopheles mosquito. Areas where there is presence of stagnant water are more likely to face malaria challenges because the stagnant waters give way for mosquitoes to lay their eggs.
This infection affects about 350 to 500 million people with 1 to 3 million deaths, every year. Malaria infection during pregnancy remains an important public health with substantial risks to both mother and foetus. A pregnant woman has twice the chances of dying from malaria, compared to a non-pregnant woman. Malaria in pregnancy not only affects the mother but also poses dangerous threats to the foetus.
What are the symptoms of malaria in pregnancy Symptoms and complications of malaria in pregnancy may vary according to malaria transmission intensity in the given geographical area, and the individual’s level of acquired immunity.
General symptoms however may include headaches,fever, chills,malaise and anaemia, which is prominent. In some cases, symptoms could be severe and lead to seizures, mental confusion, coma, kidney failure and death.
Prevention and treatment
• Prevention is always the best management strategy. Expectant mothers should always ensure that they avoid malarious areas. Moreover, sleeping with treated mosquito nets is a necessity when pregnant.
• It is also important that surroundings are always kept clean to prevent the breeding of mosquitoes.
• A pregnant woman diagnosed with malaria should seek immediate treatment with effective antimalarial medications. Oral quinine and clindamycin can be administered to women during the first trimester. Intravenous antimalarials should be administered in the setting of severe malaria in second or third trimester.
Malaria is a disease that could cause serious health problems in individuals, especially pregnant women. Inasmuch as malaria is common, it is also preventable. Pregnant women should ensure that all preventive measures are taken towards malaria, and pregnant women who have experienced malaria should get regular check ups to prevent relapses.