Does malaria during pregnancy affect the newborn?

Mohammad Yawar Yakoob, Asma Zakaria, Saima Naheed Waqar, Samiah Zafar, Ali Saeed Wahla, Sarah Kulsoom Zaidi, Arif R. Sarwari, Rahat N. Qureshi, Amna Rehana Siddiqui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Objective: To investigate the effect of malarial infection during pregnancy on the newborn. Methods: A retrospective cohort study was conducted at The Aga Khan University Hospital (AKUH), Karachi, using in-patient hospital records over an 11-year period from 1988 to 1999. The incidence of preterm delivery, low birth weight (LBW) and intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) in 29 pregnant women with malaria, was compared with that in 66 selected pregnant women without malaria, who delivered at the AKUH during the same time period. Results: Pregnant women with malaria had a 3.1 times greater risk of preterm labor (p=0.14). They were more likely to be anaemic compared to women without malaria (RR=2.9, 95% CI=1.6-5.4) and had a significantly lower mean haemoglobin level (p=0.0001). Maternal malaria was significantly associated with LBW babies (p=0.001). The mean birth weight of infants born to pregnant women with malaria was 461 g less (p=0.0005). No significant association was, however, found between malarial infection during pregnancy and IUGR (p=0.33). Conclusion: Malarial infection during pregnancy is associated with poor maternal and fetal outcome. It is significantly associated with maternal anaemia and LBW infants. Appropriate measures must, therefore, be taken to prevent malaria during pregnancy, especially in endemic areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)543-546
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the Pakistan Medical Association
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2005


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