Has anyone ever travelled to a malaria-endemic country during pregnancy? I am planning to travel to Sub-Saharan Africa for a couple of days with work when I will be 16 weeks pregnant. I have read that most anti-malarial prophylactics are unsafe to use during pregnancy ? or at least they can?t be tested due to the ethics around it.
Does anyone know if there is anything I can use? I will obviously wear long sleeves and avoid being out at night but it would put my mind at rest if there was an effective deterrent which is safe to use in pregnancy. TIA!
You are at higher risk of contracting malaria while pregnant so ensure you get advice from a highly experienced travel health adviser well before you travel in a face-to-face consultation. One of the best sources of information for pregnant travellers is from the website www.pregnanttraveler.com which is written by an American doctor who is a specialist in obstetrics and travel medicine. The site is very informative but it is for general purposes only and you should see a travel health advisor who will provide you with advice tailor-made to your own situation.
I'm afraid I can't recommend anything sensible but I find a high intake of garlic keeps the little buggers away! I was bitten to death on my first two nights in India and thought I'd be utterly miserable for the full fortnight, but after 48 hours of curry they left me alone completely, and everyone said it was the garlic that did the trick! Not sure how the smell will go down with your colleagues but might be worth a try!
Where are you going and when? This will dictate if it is a malarial endemic or epidemic area.
The most effective prophylactics are malarone and larium, both of which are contraindicated in pregnancy.
During all three pregnancies of mine in sub-sahara Africa I have used Mosiguard, though I'm no longer sure where it is sold you will have to google it. Otherwise there is an excellent South African brand called Peaceful Sleep, that I swear by. Will you be going via a large city? Usually you can buy a decent deet free repellant in a large supermarket in large African cities. I buy my repellant locally.
may i make a suggestion? I had a similar issue early in pregnancy, and previous experience tells me that nothing except DEET works for me.
travel partner would take my long sleeved clothing out of the room we were staying in, and give it a light spray on the outside (therefore minimum skin contact with me). Bar about 4 bits in two weeks, it worked perfectly.
Also, there is no evidence to suggest that DEET is unsafe in pregnancy. It is purely precautionary. All tests that have been conducted have found no higher rates of birth defects than would be expected in the normal population.
You ahve to balance the serious risk of contracting malaria against the very low risk of using DEET
Chestnut is right- there's no evidence that DEET is dangerous in pregnancy and avoiding getting bitten is the most effective way of preventing Malaria - Mozzies come nowhere near that stuff. I like Bushman brand- available in most outdoor shops.
I'm sure you are both absolutely right, however deet based repellants are so strong they melt watch straps and I've seen the varnish come off a table after the bottle has been on it!
It is wrong to assume that non-deet based repellants do not work as well as deet based repellants. Mosiguard has been tested by the LSHTM and found to be equally effective. I am living proof that it works, having lived in malaria endemic areas during 2 pregnancies with no malarial outcome.
Sounds odd but I recommend Avon's Skin So Soft Replenishing Dry Oil Body Spray. I normally get eaten alive by mosquitoes, but wasn't prepared to use a DEET based repellant in my last pregnancy. Through research I kept being recommended this Avon stuff and it did the trick - it's just a moisturiser but apparently the particular smell repels mosquitoes. You could combine that with a non-deet repellant such as mosiguard to be on the safe side. I bought the Avon stuff online - think Avon have a website.
Thanks all. I think I may stock up on both DEET containing sprays/gels as well as non-DEET ones and use Avon Skin So Soft as a moisturiser anyway! I agree that the best way to avoid contracting malaria is to avoid getting bitten in the first place. Also, pregnant or not, the side effects from the likes of Malarone / Larium can be pretty horrendous so I'd much rather just keep them off me all together!