Prevention of Malaria during Pregnancy
Prevention of Malaria during Pregnancy - Pregnant women are at greater risk of malarial infection. If not controlled or treated properly malaria can lead to serious consequences during pregnancy.
Pregnant women are more vulnerable to severe malaria. If not taken care of, it increases the risk associated with pregnancy, especially in the first and second trimester of pregnancy. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), on an average 10,000 women die as a result of malaria infection during pregnancy. Amongst these more than half of the deaths are attributed to malarial anaemia.
Malarial Infection during Pregnancy
Malarial infection during pregnancy can lead to serious consequences such as:
- Spontaneous Abortion.
- Premature birth.
- Maternal anaemia.
- Low birth weight.
- Neonatal death.
Ways to prevent Malaria during Pregnancy
- Insecticide Treated Nets: The very first thing you must do is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Use Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs) to prevent infections. This is especially important for women who are living in malaria-endemic areas. It is one of the most cost effective means of preventing malaria during pregnancy.
- Intermittent Preventive Treatment (IPT): World Health Organization suggests that pregnant women who are living in areas of moderate or high malarial risk must undergo Intermittent Preventive Treatment (IPT).
Pregnant women must routinely undergo Intermitted preventive treatment (IPT) as a part of antenatal care. It reduces the risk of placenta malaria, low birth weight and anaemia. IPT for pregnant women require administration of anti-malarial drug twice in entire pregnancy. WHO has recommended sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (malarial drug) for IPT for pregnant women. This reduces the risk of placental infection by 52 percent. It is however important that IPT is performed under the supervision of experts.
- Case management: Effective case management for malaria is important to control it. If you are pregnant then make sure that malaria screening is done as a routine part of your antenatal care. Pregnant women must never ignore symptoms such as loss of appetite, fever, chills, headaches and body pains. Sometimes they are indicative symptoms of malaria. In such situations one must immediately opt for malaria screening.
Women with severe malarial symptoms must be given emergency care by the experts. Blood transfusion, and administration of anti-malarial drugs are some of the life saving measures.
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Source: Onlymyhealth editorial team Sep 12, 2011
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