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Tuberculosis - All About The Disease!

Written and reviewed by
Gynaecologist, Faridabad
Tuberculosis - All About The Disease!

Tuberculosis during pregnancy is the third leading cause of maternal mortality. In fact, it is one of the most feared diseases during pregnancy for mothers as well as children. The problem with Tuberculosis during pregnancy is that it is most often not diagnosed until very late in pregnancy or until child birth. This acts as a double-edged sword since it leads to progression of the disease in the mother and transmission of the disease to the child concurrently.

The best way to prevent Tuberculosis during pregnancy is to stay away from causative factors for tuberculosis.

Effects on Pregnancy

Tuberculosis during pregnancy can harm both the mother and the child. It can be grouped in two ways: effect on mother and effect on fetus.

Effect on Mother

  1. Diagnosing Tuberculosis during pregnancy becomes difficult due to various changes in the body, including the immune system. Diagnosis is further vitiated due to no apparent weight loss. In fact, weight loss due to Tuberculosis is disguised by weight gain during pregnancy. However, pregnant women with Tuberculosis may experience less than normal weight gain.

  2. There is an increased risk of miscarriage and abortion and premature labor.

Effect on Fetus

Tuberculosis during pregnancy affects the baby in different ways:

  1. The fetus may contract the disease from the mother through the umbilical cord. This is referred to as congenital tuberculosis. The baby can contract the disease during its passage through the birth canal too.  However, the symptoms of congenital Tuberculosis are often non-specific in nature. Since the mother also does not show any specific symptoms, it becomes difficult to diagnose the disease right after birth.

  2. The child may suffer from swelling in the liver or spleen.

  3. It may also suffer from respiratory problems, fever, etc.

How to Stay Away from Contracting Tuberculosis

The danger of contracting Tuberculosis bacteria during pregnancy is multiplied if the pregnant mother has a weak immune system. If a pregnant woman is exposed to bacteria during pregnancy, she may contract the disease. This is why pregnant women need to stay away from the disease by doing the following:

  1. Staying away from TB infected persons around you

  2. Stopping smoking since it enhances the risk of contracting the disease

  3. Avoiding poor living conditions

Fighting Tuberculosis During Pregnancy

Management of Tuberculosis during pregnancy is extremely important since that can help you avoid any harm either to the mother or to the child. Though doctors would in all probability prescribe antibiotics, there are certain medicines that you need to avoid during pregnancy. Gynecologists are well aware of these drugs. Along with taking antibiotics, you also need to make sure that you:

  1. Eat a balanced and healthy diet.

  2. Breathe plenty of fresh air.

  3. Talk to doctors about side effects like headaches, nausea, vision changes, etc.

Conclusion

People might think that taking medicine for Tuberculosis can harm their unborn child. However, the untreated Tuberculosis is even more harmful for the fetus. This is why doctors may recommend some TB drugs that help prevent the child from Tuberculosis. There are many medicines available that won’t affect the child.

Eating healthy food, following proper treatment and medication, and some preventing measures will surely help the women to save the child from these conditions.

In case you have a concern or query you can always consult a specialist & get answers to your questions!
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