Why is malaria especially dangerous for pregnant women?
Pregnant women are more likely to suffer from malaria than other women. The disease is more dangerous during pregnancy, especially during the first pregnancy. This is due to changes in a woman's body that lower her previous level of resistance to malaria. Malaria can cause severe anaemia ('thin blood'), miscarriage, premature birth or stillbirth.
Babies born to mothers who have had malaria during pregnancy are often underweight. This makes them more vulnerable to infection or death during their first year.
Women in their first pregnancy in areas where malaria is prevalent often do not show the typical signs of malaria.