Malaria is a common infection world-wide, which carries significant risk of morbidity and mortality. Health care providers in the United States may lack experience in recognizing and treating this disease. The pathophysiology of malaria differs during pregnancy, resulting in increased risk for serious morbidity and mortality for the woman and her fetus. Screening for risk factors, especially immigration from and travel to endemic countries, is critical. Symptoms of malaria can mimic influenza-type illnesses, causing delay in diagnosis. Consultation with an infectious disease specialist and hospitalization may be required for appropriate testing and treatment. Chemoprophylaxis and counseling regarding methods to reduce risk are important components of prevention. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have established protocols for treatment and are helpful resources for clinicians. A team approach to care based on the woman’s stage of illness and recovery, can involve midwives, physicians, specialists and others.
© 2021 by the American College of Nurse-Midwives.