Malaria ups risk of miscarriage

One in three women who have an episode of malaria in the first trimester will suffer a miscarriage, but malarial drugs are found to be fairly safe

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A single episode of asymptomatic malaria in the first trimester of pregnancy increases a woman’s chance of miscarriage from a one in four to one in three, according to new research. Where the malarial episode is accompanied by symptoms of the disease, the risk rises to one in two.

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In the largest study of the effect of malaria on pregnancy, researchers found that the risk of the disease was far higher than any risks associated with the medication used to treat it. They recommended that pregnant women be diagnosed and treated as soon as possible.

The study of 16,668 women in Thailand showed that those who had received anti-malaria drugs such as choloroquine and quinine in the first trimester had no substantial difference in the outcome of their pregnancies.

Though researchers believe more studies are necessary, it brings hope to the estimated 125 million pregnancies a year that are at risk of malaria.

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