How does schistosomiasis (bilharzia) affect pregnancy?

Updated: Jun 11, 2020
  • Author: Shadab Hussain Ahmed, MD, AAHIVS, FACP, FIDSA; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Schistosomiasis affects the uterine environment during pregnancy. These pregnant women develop severe anemia, have low ̶ birth-weight infants, and are at increased risk for infant and maternal mortality. Schistosomiasis has been found in placenta, and newborns have been diagnosed with this condition, thus confirming congenital infection. [6] Infected pregnant women have a higher rate of spontaneous abortions and a higher risk for ectopic pregnancies. In addition, increased pelvic blood flow during pregnancy is thought to increase the infection load. WHO recommends giving praziquantel to pregnant and lactating women to decrease the disease burden and improve the pregnancy and fetal outcomes. [32]

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