Effect of Maternal Parasitic Disease on the Neonate


Department Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of California, Irvine, Medical Center, 101 The City Drive South, Orange, CA 92668.


ABSTRACT: Parasitic disease is the most common infectious disease complication of pregnancy worldwide, resulting in maternal debilitation and fetal prematurity and low birth weight. The increasing incidence of these diseases in our population led to the present study of 125 patients, 34 of whom were found to be infected with at least one intestinal parasite. In contrast to studies in developing countries, no significant differences in either maternal anemia, or fetal birth weight, or prematurity were found between the infected and non-infected groups. However, there was a three-fold increase in the incidence of significant neonatal hyperbilirubinemia in the parasitized group. Parasitic disease complicating pregnancy in our population does not appear to exert the same adverse effect on mother and fetus as that described in other countries. In view of the limited pathology associated with parasitic disease, treatment, other than with iron and vitamin supplementation, is not routinely indicated in pregnancy in populations similar to ours. However, due to the increased incidence of neonatal jaundice and morbidity we would recommend close observation of the neonates in the immediate postpartum period.