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Anti-Malarials in 1st trimester - any experience?

(12 Posts)
Travel123 Tue 28-May-13 12:25:40


I'm in a bit of a dilemma and wondered if anyone had any experiences or advice to offer?

I just found out I am four weeks pregnant, and am due to travel on a work trip to a dense forest region of West Africa, a high malaria zone, on Sunday. It is rainy season there.

The doctor is a bit hopeless, in that she says she can't really recommend any anti-malarials but cannot advise me to cancel the trip. She says it's my decision.

My last (first) pregnancy ended in MC at 12 weeks and I am very paranoid about the same thing happening, although the doctor said to be aware that most pregnancies end in MC, therefore not to worry (!!).

I just wondered if anyone had taken anti-malarials during pregnancy and if so, which ones, and were they ok?

Any comments useful at this point!

Best wishes.

Bejeena Tue 28-May-13 12:42:31

I think for me it would depend on what my work there would actually involved and where I was staying. If I was in a tent in the middle of forest then I'd feel differently that if it were a 4* hotel that I would rarely leave, I'd not worry about taking anti malaria. Is it too late to start taking them now anyway for protection whilst there?

Saying that though I think if it is work I would probably cancel the trip, I'd feel differently for a holiday though. But I am sure your doctor is right and everything would be fine

Travel123 Tue 28-May-13 12:43:31

Thanks Bejeena! Yes it's work, and we are right out in the forest, not very good accommodation etc... Thank you!

Bejeena Tue 28-May-13 12:47:55

Hmmm since it is work I would cancel the trip to be honest in your position, also in a couple of weeks you could be feeling very sick and the trip back might be a nightmare (I was in Australia when I discovered I was 6 weeks pregnant and flight home @ 8 weeks was awful).

Or have you tried another doctor for a second opinion? A private consulation (I am assuming you can confide in your work and they cover these costs?)

EugenesAxe Tue 28-May-13 12:48:28

I had heard about birth-defects being associated with anti-malarials but wasn't sure. When I Googled I found this article, which might help you?

Reuters article

EuroShaggleton Tue 28-May-13 12:53:36

The Hospital for Tropical Diseases used to have a travel clinic (I say used to because I had heard it was closing so not sure if it is still there). The might be able to advise on a specialist issue like this?

Souper Tue 28-May-13 12:59:39

If it was me I would cancel the trip. Antimalarials are not safe in pregnancy and pregnant women are at increased risk of complications of malaria. Completely not worth it IMO.

Travel123 Tue 28-May-13 13:03:07

Really useful advice - thanks!!!

Snowflakepie Tue 28-May-13 13:04:15

Personally I wouldn't go. There's not enough evidence to take the medication in the first trimester, and with your sad loss before I just wouldn't take the risk. Especially as it sounds you'll be in the wild. Obviously it depends on your work but I don't think they could make you go, have they done a risk assessment for you yet? If not, get them on the case straight away. Travelling in the first trimester is pretty horrible anyway, with DD I had a holiday planned when I was 8 weeks and spent the whole time feeling ill and exhausted.

Bit angry at that doctor though. Most pg end in a MC? What? Have I misunderstood? I don't think that's the case at all. Hope things are kinder on you this time x

mycatlikestwiglets Tue 28-May-13 13:06:38

I was due to travel to a high malarial area when 6 weeks pg and my GP told me that anti-malarials are contra-indicated in pregnancy and particularly in the first trimester. There is a reason that they won't prescribe them for you.

Although that particular trip was cancelled I did travel to another risk area at 14 weeks and made do with lots of insect repellent and long sleeves etc in the evenings (thankfully it wasn't high season and I didn't actually get a single bite). I seem to recall that you shouldn't use products containing deet because that can lead to birth defects but there are lots of anti-mosquito products out there which are safe in pregnancy. It's a case of weighing up the risks. I wouldn't personally risk it for a work trip.

Travel123 Tue 28-May-13 13:10:31

Thanks Snowflakepie - yes I am inclined to agree. Just doesn't seem worth it. Only thing is, I cancelled a trip to Ghana last time for same reason and then MCed - worried work will just think I am such a loser!

And yes the doc really wasn't very positive, almost saying it is inevitable that I WILL have an MC. Very strange and feeling quite wobbly about everything! It is a real nightmare...

Thank you for your kind wishes, fingers crossed it will be ok this time x

Travel123 Tue 28-May-13 13:12:33

Thank you mycatlikestwiglets.... I agree - I am just so worried about cancelling and then MCing and then work thinking I am just this kind of pregnancy loser who doesn't do her work cos of all her missed pregnancies. Almost funny!! I am going to try to discuss with my very nice boss this afternoon...


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