A review of malaria in pregnancy
Malaria causes over 10000 maternal and 200000 neonatal deaths a year globally. Fifty million pregnant women are at risk of acquiring malaria of which half of them are in Sub-Saharan Africa. It is caused by the plasmodium parasite, which is transmitted by the vector female Anopheles mosquito. Plasmodium falciparum is the most prevalent and virulent.
Pregnant women are more susceptible to malaria and malaria runs a more fulminant course in pregnancy. Primigravidae and to a lesser degree the secundigravidae are more susceptible to malaria infection than the higher parities. Women in endemic areas have greater premonition (a host response that protects against high numbers of parasite and illness without eliminating the infection) to malaria though they become anaemic and have placental parasitisation that disturbs fetal growth leading to poor perinatal outcomes. Women in epidemic areas have lower premunition to malaria resulting in severe infections and higher mortality.
WHO (World Health Organization) advocates for the use of Insecticide treated nets, chemoprophylaxis and effective case management to reduce mortality in pregnant women.