Malaria In pregnancy

    • Brief

    • Malaria infection in pregnancy is a serious condition. It can be life-threatening for the mother and the unborn baby. Symptoms include fever, vomiting, dehydration, headaches, and muscle or joint pains. It can lead to miscarriage or to complications in the newborn.

      You can prevent the infection by using a preventative antimalarial medicine and by always sleeping under an insecticide-treated bed net.

    • What are the symptoms?

      • High body temperature (fever).
      • Chills.
      • Vomiting or feeling like vomiting.
      • Headache.
      • Abdominal discomfort or pain.
      • Frequent stooling.
      • Muscle or joint pain.

    • What are the causes?

    • Malaria is caused by the plasmodium parasite. When an infected mosquito bites you the parasite is passed to you. The parasite moves to the liver, where it multiplies and spreads into the blood stream.

    • What are the things that put you at risk?

      • Living in Nigeria puts you at risk of the disease, as malaria is found across the country.
      • If you live in an area with with standing water (e.g. open gutter, pools of water).
      • If you do not sleep under an insecticide-treated bed net or do not prevent being bitten by mosquitos in other ways (e.g. wearing clothes that cover your arms and legs sleeves, burning mosquito coils).
    • When to visit a doctor?

    • Malaria in pregnancy is a serious condition, if your body feels hotter than usual or if you experience severe chills or headaches you should see your healthcare provider immediately.

    • How to prevent?

      • Always sleep under a mosquito net that has been treated with insecticide (LLITN). It is available free of charge at public healthcare centres in Nigeria.
      • Use the recommended medication for prevention of malaria in pregnancy (IPT), sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine. It is given free of charge to all pregnant women at public health centres in Nigeria during antenatal care. The medicine is given after the first 13 weeks of pregnancy and at one-month intervals.
      • Wear long clothing that covers your neck, arms and legs. Cotton clothing are preferable since they absorb sweat.
      • Get rid of standing water around your house by clearing the drains, emptying buckets and draining pools of water.
      • Use creams or sprays that repel mosquitoes.
    • How to manage and treat?

    • Self-care tips:

      These tips can relieve symptoms but do not treat malaria. For treatment you need to see your healthcare provider immediately when you experience any of the symptoms listed above.

      • Eat a healthy, balanced diet with daily portions of fruits and vegetables. This helps you avoid complications and helps you recover faster.
      • Drink a lot of water. Half a cup of water every fifteen minutes can prevent dehydration.
      • You can take paracetamol or ibuprofen to ease fever and discomfort.
      • Sleep under the mosquito net called long-lasting insecticide-treated net (LLITN). It is available for free at your public healthcare centre.
      • Wear clothing that covers your hands, legs and neck. Cotton clothing can reduce discomfort from heat.

      Treatment options:

      • Your healthcare provider will establish the severity of your infection and the stage of your pregnancy before recommending antimalarial medication.
      • From month four of your pregnancy, your healthcare provider can safely recommend artemether-lumefantrine. You should not use this medication in the first three months of your pregnancy.
      • If you are still early in your pregnancy, the healthcare provider may recommend quinine and doxycycline to help stop the infection and prevent it from occurring again.
    • Kulawa cares

    • It is best to prevent malaria by avoiding mosquito bites. The condition is often ignored and, when left untreated, can lead to serious complications for mother and child. Taking preventive antimalaria medication and sleeping under an insecticide treated bed net will reduce your risk of contracting malaria in pregnancy.

      When your healthcare provider diagnoses you with malaria in pregnancy, they will choose a safe and effective treatment for you. Do not self-medicate, as not all antimalarials are safe in pregnancy.