Malaria in pregnancy can harm both mother and fetus. Pregnancy reduces a woman's immunity, and so makes her more susceptible to malaria illness and death. Malaria can also induce maternal anemia, fetal loss, premature delivery, intrauterine growth retardation, low infant birth-weight and neo-natal death.
In addition to ensuring that pregnant women sleep under an insecticide-treated net, Intermittent Preventive Treatment (IPT) can provide protection to mother and child. IPT entails giving pregnant women two or three doses of an effective anti-malarial drug in various stages of pregnancy. IPT has proven effective not only in clearing parasites from the mother's bloodstream but also in reducing the likelihood of mother-to-child transmission of malaria and the resulting negative effects. The appropriate drug for IPT must be carefully chosen based on local and regional patterns of parasitic resistance.
For technical details on drug choice for IPT, please refer to the various publications by the World Health Organization on the subject. For more information on IPT, please refer to the Roll Back Malaria Parternship's Malaria in Pregnancy Infosheet.
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