In areas of stable malaria transmission like Nigeria, the most common complications of malaria in pregnancy are: ANAEMIA IN THE MOTHER, which when severe could cause maternal death; and LOW BIRTH WEIGHT in the child which is a significant contributor to infant mortality.
A Propos on Malaria in Pregnancy
1. Many pregnant women DO NOT commonly show the typical symptoms of malaria
2. Due to the absence of symptoms, most women do not take malaria prevention seriously
3. The worse form of malaria in pregnancy is P. falciparum infection
4. P. falciparum is the most dangerous specie of malaria parasites and it causes harm to both the mother and unborn child. It typically lodges within the placenta bed in a pregnant woman
5. During pregnancy, the body mounts a slightly modified type of immune response to fight off the malaria parasite
The Numbers. Reality Check.
6. 25 million women are estimated to become pregnant annually in tropical Africa where there is stable malaria transmission
7. 200,000 – 500,000 pregnant women are said to develop severe Anaemia in Sub-Saharan Africa and malaria is one of the common causes
8. About 3-5% of all maternal anemia in the tropics is said to be contributed by Malaria
9. P.S: (However, Iron deficiency is the leading cause of Anaemia in Pregnancy)
10. Over 7 million women become pregnant every year in Nigeria
11. About 70.5% of pregnant women in Nigeria annually present with symptoms suggestive of malaria
12. 11% of these pregnant women reportedly die of malaria each year
13. 19% of infants born with a low birth weight (<2.5kg at term) is due to malaria in pregnancy within malaria dense areas like Nigeria
14. 6% of infant deaths are due to low birth weight which is notably caused by malaria
15. One to Half. Depending on the prevalence of malaria in an area, it can be expected that as much as 50% of pregnant women may carry malaria parasites in their blood especially within the placenta, without noticing it.