Pregnancy is known to suppress the immune system, thus making the mom-to-be vulnerable to many infections and diseases. Dengue is one such disease, which is especially prevalent during the monsoons, and also when it recedes. We’re here to tell moms-to-be everything they need to know about it:

How Can Dengue Affect My Pregnancy?

Unfortunately, a weak immune system means that moms-to-be are more likely to develop a severe form of the disease. Moreover, the risk of complications like pre-eclampsia, pre-term labour and a low birth weight baby is higher in pregnant women with dengue. It can further lead to a Caesarean birth or even a miscarriage. If you go into labour while suffering from dengue, there is a higher risk of heavy bleeding which may require a blood transfusion.

Can I Transfer Dengue to My Baby in My Womb?

Whether a mother can pass the disease to her unborn baby is not known for sure. There have been cases where the baby is born with dengue, but this co-relation needs to be studied further. However, if you contract the disease closer to your due date, it may be more likely that your baby will have dengue too. On the other hand, if you have dengue during labour, your baby may develop the disease in the first two weeks. If this is your case, your doctor will advise you on what symptoms you need to watch out for in your baby.

How Can I Avoid Getting Bitten by These Mosquitoes?

It’s well established that dengue during pregnancy can be dangerous, so it’s better that you follow these tips:

1. Dengue mosquitoes breed in stagnant water. So, empty any cans, pots or vases which may contain water. Also, check for any open drains around your house where rainwater is likely to collect.

2. It would also help to always wear protective clothing – make sure that your arms and legs are covered.

3. Opt for colder areas, as mosquitoes only thrive in warmer temperatures.

4. Install mosquito nets over your bed and windows to avoid these insects from reaching you at home.

5. Use scents like lemongrass, neem, lavender, eucalyptus or soybean to drive mosquitoes away. Before you stock up on these, make sure that these smells don’t cause any nausea.

6. Certain mosquito repellents are also safe during pregnancy, but remember that they are only effective for a few hours. So, reapply the repellent as often as possible.

What Symptoms Should I Look Out For?

  • Sudden high fever
  • Severe headache
  • Pain behind the eyes
  • Bone, muscle and joint pains
  • Mild bleeding from nose and gums
  • Nausea and vomiting

Red patches or measles-like rash over the chest and upper limbs
You need to note that these symptoms are quite common and can also be a sign of other viral infections. It’s recommended that you do a blood test if these symptoms crop up. It’s the best and only way to identify dengue.

How is Dengue Treated During Pregnancy?

Since there is no vaccine or specific anti-virus for dengue, the treatment involves relieving the symptoms of the disease. Please only take medication that has been prescribed by your doctor. Mild cases of dengue may not even require hospitalisation. However, it is necessary that you take complete rest and keep yourself well hydrated and nourished.

Can I Pass On the Disease Through Breastfeeding?

This doubt is common among women who have dengue while in labour. Thankfully, the infection doesn’t spread through breastmilk. In fact, it contains nutrients and antibodies that can make your baby immune to such diseases. However, if you’re suffering from a severe case of dengue, please seek guidance from your doctor – you can consider formula milk instead.

When it comes to dengue, most patients recover within two weeks. However, a feeling of being tired and unwell can continue for several weeks after too, so continue to get as much rest as possible.

#Author Bio:

Prapti Chauhan is a professor of Genetics in Bangalore. She has contributed to several online research papers. However, she passionately develops contents on pregnancy, childbirth, childcare and stem cell banking and umbilical cord blood banking.

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