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Pregnancy and Malaria: Reducing Your Risk

Topic Overview

Pregnant women need to take every possible precaution to avoid malaria. Malaria can cause death of the mother and increase the risk of problems in a pregnancy. These problems can include premature birth, birth defects, miscarriage, and stillbirth. For these reasons, and because medicines that prevent malaria do not always work, women who are pregnant or likely to become pregnant should avoid travel to areas where malaria is present.1

If you must travel, you can take certain medicines that prevent malaria. Keep in mind that these medicines do not always work. So far, these medicines have not proved harmful to the fetus. But their safety has not been established.

You can also help prevent malaria by avoiding mosquito bites. Bed nets, long-sleeved shirts, air conditioning, and staying indoors can help.

Talk to your doctor, your local health department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or a travel clinic about your risk of contracting malaria in the country where you intend to travel.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. American Academy of Pediatrics (2012). Malaria. In LK Pickering et al., eds., Red Book: 2012 Report of the Committee on Infectious Diseases, 29th ed., pp. 483–489. Elk Grove Village, IL: American Academy of Pediatrics.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
Last Revised April 11, 2013

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