There are many adverse effects of malaria in pregnancy. In general, pregnant woman are more likely to develop malaria than those who are not pregnant. When they do develop it, the condition also tends to be more severe and more likely to prove fatal. Unfortunately, malaria can cause symptoms in both a pregnant woman and her developing baby. It may also prove more difficult to treat during pregnancy since some of the drugs commonly used in malaria treatment may not be safe for use during pregnancy.
One of the main differences between malaria in a non-pregnant person and a pregnant person is the level of susceptibility. Malaria is more likely to develop in a pregnant woman than in a man or a woman who is not pregnant. This may be due, in part, to the natural suppression of the immune system during pregnancy. Some experts think this increased susceptibility may also occur because a woman loses some of her acquired immunity while she is expecting a child.
Some of the effects of malaria in pregnancy are noted by the mother. A woman who has malaria during pregnancy may develop anemia, fever, and even changes in her blood sugar levels. She may develop an infection that affects her genitals as well as fluid buildup in the lungs. In addition, women may develop a form of malaria that affects the brain and other serious complications of malaria in pregnancy.
A pregnant woman with malaria also is more likely to have a severe form of malaria than a non-pregnant woman. When pregnant women develop malaria, they are also more likely to die from it than other people. In addition, malaria in pregnancy may also present challenges when it comes to treatment. Many of the medications used in the treatment of malaria are not safe for use on pregnant women. Additionally, the natural changes that occur in a woman's body during pregnancy may make treatment of the disease and control of such things as temperature and fluids more difficult than usual.
The developing baby is also at risk from a case of malaria in pregnancy. A newborn baby may have a lower-than-normal birth weight or be born prematurely because of a malaria infection. Sometimes this disease may even cause growth retardation to develop while a baby is still growing in his mother’s uterus. Malaria in pregnancy can even lead to the death of the child before or after birth.