Malaria and pregnancy: a global health perspective

Rev Obstet Gynecol. Summer 2009;2(3):186-92.


Malaria, a parasitic infection transmitted by mosquitoes, is one of the most devastating infectious diseases, killing more than 1 million people annually. Pregnant women, children, and immunocompromised individuals have the highest morbidity and mortality, and Africa bears the heaviest burden. The World Health Organization defines malaria as a disease of poverty caused by poverty. Pregnant women infected with malaria usually have more severe symptoms and outcomes, with higher rates of miscarriage, intrauterine demise, premature delivery, low-birth-weight neonates, and neonatal death. They are also at a higher risk for severe anemia and maternal death. Malaria can be prevented with appropriate drugs, bed nets treated with insecticide, and effective educational outreach programs.

Keywords: Malaria, immunocompromised host; Malaria, neonates; Malaria, pregnancy; Plasmodium falciparum.