Obstetrical outcomes among women with extrapulmonary tuberculosis

N Engl J Med. 1999 Aug 26;341(9):645-9. doi: 10.1056/NEJM199908263410903.


Background: The prevalence of tuberculosis, especially extrapulmonary tuberculosis, is increasing worldwide. Because information on the outcome of pregnancy among women with extrapulmonary tuberculosis is limited, we studied the course of pregnancy and labor and the perinatal outcome in these women and their infants.

Methods: From 1983 to 1993, we followed 33 pregnant women who had extrapulmonary tuberculosis (12 with tuberculous lymphadenitis and 9 with intestinal, 7 with skeletal, 2 with renal, 2 with meningeal, and 1 with endometrial tuberculosis) through their deliveries. Of the 33, 29 received antituberculosis treatment during pregnancy. The antenatal complications, intrapartum events, and perinatal outcomes were compared with those among 132 healthy pregnant women without tuberculosis who were matched for age, parity, and socioeconomic status.

Results: Tuberculous lymphadenitis did not affect the course of pregnancy or labor or the perinatal outcome. However, as compared with the control women, the 21 women with tubercular involvement of other extrapulmonary sites had higher rates of antenatal hospitalization (24 percent vs. 2 percent, P< 0.001), infants with low Apgar scores (< or =6) soon after birth (19 percent vs. 3 percent, P=0.01), and low-birth-weight (<2500 g) infants (33 percent vs. 11 percent, P=0.01).

Conclusions: Extrapulmonary tuberculosis that is confined to the lymph nodes has no effect on obstetrical outcomes, but tuberculosis at other extrapulmonary sites does adversely affect the outcome of pregnancy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Female
  • Hospitalization / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Labor, Obstetric
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious* / drug therapy
  • Pregnancy Outcome / epidemiology*
  • Tuberculosis* / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis, Lymph Node


  • Antitubercular Agents