Malaria in Pregnancy: A Literature Review


  • Ruth E. Lagerberg CNM, MSN, FNP, MS

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    • Ruth E. Lagerberg, CNM, MSN, FNP, MS, works for the Center for Community Health and Education, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY, and is pursuing her master's in public health at Columbia University. She was a Médecins Sans Frontières volunteer in Akuem, southern Sudan in 2004.

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Pregnant women are more likely than nonpregnant women to become infected with malaria and to have severe infection. The effects of malaria during pregnancy include spontaneous abortion, preterm delivery, low birth weight, stillbirth, congenital infection, and maternal death. Malaria is caused by the four species of the protozoa of the genus Plasmodium, which is transmitted by the bite of the female Anopheline mosquito, congenitally, or through exposure to infected blood products. This article reviews the epidemiology, pathology, clinical symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of malaria in pregnant women. Interventions to prevent malaria include intermittent preventive treatment, insecticide-treated nets, and case management of malaria infection and anemia.