Chapter 7: Learning a pregnant woman’s health history
Malaria is an infection of the blood that causes chills and fever. It is very common
in young girls, first-time mothers, and women who are sick with other illnesses.
Malaria is especially dangerous for pregnant women and their babies. A pregnant
woman with malaria is more likely to have anemia, miscarriage, early birth, small
baby, stillbirth (baby born dead), or to die.
Malaria is spread by mosquitoes. To prevent malaria, avoid mosquito bites.
•∑Get rid of standing water and
stay away from wet places
where mosquitoes breed.
•∑Use mosquito repellent
when mosquitoes are
•∑Use local remedies to get rid of
mosquitoes. Some people use
citronella oil on their skin.
•∑Sleep under treated bed nets
or hang treated curtains in
doors and windows.
Treated bed nets are safe, but do not spray pesticides on bedding.
It is important for pregnant women to avoid malaria — and to be treated
quickly if they get sick. Malaria medicines may be costly and can have side effects,
but these medicines are much safer than becoming sick with malaria.
Unfortunately, malaria treatment is not the same everywhere or for every
person. In many places the medicines that were once used to prevent or treat
malaria do not work anymore. Newer medicines or combinations of medicines are
given in these places. Also, someone who is very sick with
malaria may need a different treatment than someone
who is only mildly sick. Some medicines normally given
for malaria, such as primaquine, are not safe during
Where malaria is common, all pregnant women may
be given medicines to prevent it. Find out what medicines
the local health authority recommends for this.
If a woman is already sick with malaria, she should be
treated right away. In many places, chloroquine is the
recommended treatment. It is safe in pregnancy, and if the
malaria comes back it can be treated again.
To treat malaria with chloroquine
• give 600 mg chloroquine ����������������������������������������by mouth, once a day for 2 days
and then give 300 mg choloroquine on the third day
If the woman does not start to get better on day 2, she may need other medicine.
Chloroquine will not work in some places. Get medical help or find out what
medicines the local health authority recommends.
A Book for Midwives (2010)