Malaria infection during pregnancy is an important public health problem with substantial risks to both the mother and foetus. Pregnant women are the most vulnerable group of malaria‐associated morbidity and mortality. A pregnant woman has an increased risk (up to four times) of getting malaria and twice the chances of dying from malaria, compared to a non‐pregnant adult, becuase the immune system is partially suppressed during pregnancy. Malaria in pregnancy not only affects the mother but also has a dangerous sequel for the developing foetus, resulting in premature delivery or intrauterine growth retardation. Diagnosis of malaria in pregnancy remains a challenge due to the low parasite density and placental sequestration of Plasmodium falciparum. Thus, there is an urgent need for new diagnostic methods to detect malarial parasites in the pregnant women. Though antimalarial drugs are available, which can be safely given in the pregnancy, increasing drug resistance of malarial parasite may pose a big problem in the future. In this chapter, we review the burden of pregnancy‐associated malaria (PAM), its pathogenesis, diagnostic issues during pregnancy and recent guidelines for chemoprophylaxsis and treatment.
Part of the book: Current Topics in Malaria