Lymes During Pregnancy

The subject of pregnancy and Lyme symptoms is also widespread with rumor and needless fear.

Pregnant women should be careful in particular and avoid getting a tick bite, because Lyme symptoms can be transmitted to an unborn child. Although rare, it can make a woman more likely to miscarry or deliver a stillborn child. Every

Lyme symptoms acquired during pregnancy may lead to infection of the placenta and possible stillbirth; however, no negative effects on the fetus have been found when the mother receives appropriate antibiotic treatment.

Studies of women infected during pregnancy have found that there are no negative effects on the fetus if the mother receives appropriate antibiotic treatment for her Lyme symptoms.

There has been concern about the effect of maternal Lymes on pregnancy outcome relating to the study of Lyme symptoms causes.

Fetal death, birth weight, length of gestation at delivery, and congenital malformations were examined in relation to maternal Lymes exposure before and during pregnancy.

No statistical differences were found in the frequencies of maternal conditions and exposures between the two groups for cigarette smoking, alcohol use, conception while using contraceptives, the use of fertility drugs, the use of electric blankets or heated waterbeds, vaginal bleeding during pregnancy, occupational exposure to video display terminals, asthma, upper respiratory tract infections, or thyroid disorders.

There were no statistical differences between the groups in Lyme symptoms during pregnancy (or 3 months, 1 year, or at any time before conception) or in those who had received a tick bite during pregnancy (or 3 months, 1 year, or at any time before conception).In summary, the occurrence of Lyme symptoms during pregnancy presents a serious but apparently small risk to the fetus.

Even though the direct risk to a fetus appears to be low, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that pregnant women not receive the vaccine because its safety during pregnancy has not been established .In rare cases, there is some evidence that Lyme symptoms acquired during pregnancy may cause infection of the fetus and possibly stillbirth.

Pregnant women are also highly at risk for fetal distress.

Other mental and emotional complications can occur due to hormone interactions.

  • Department of Pediatrics, New York Medical College, Valhalla 10595.*

Maternal Lyme disease or an increased risk of exposure to Lyme disease was not associated with fetal death, decreased birth weight, or length of gestation at delivery. Tick bites or Lyme disease around the time of conception was not associated with congenital malformations. Tick bites within 3 years preceding conception were significantly associated with congenital malformations, but this could have reflected reporting differences between exposed and unexposed women. CONCLUSIONS: Maternal exposure to Lyme disease before conception or during pregnancy is not associated with fetal death, prematurity, or congenital malformations taken as a whole. We have not ruled out the possibility that exposure to Lyme disease as defined by maternal history increases the risk of specific malformations or has an effect if it is not treated. We have insufficient numbers of women who were seropositive at their first prenatal visit to determine if this subgroup of exposed women are at a moderately increased risk of having a child with a congenital abnormality. The low frequency of seroconversion at delivery in this endemic area suggests that preventive measures are being taken by obstetricians and patients.

  • PMID: 8362948 [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

The occurrence of Lyme disease during pregnancy presents a serious but apparently small risk to the fetus. The greatest fetal risk may be in cases where the mother does not receive appropriate antibiotic treatment. The data to support this conclusion are limited and controversial. Because there have been no reports on the use of Lyme disease vaccine during gestation, the fetal risk from the vaccine is unknown. However, because Lyme disease itself may cause fetal harm and the vaccine is noninfectious, vaccination of women of childbearing age who are at risk for acquiring the disease may be the safest course. Although the direct risk to a fetus appears to be low, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices recommends that pregnant women not receive the vaccine because its safety during pregnancy has not been established (2). Tips

  • CDC. Recommendations for the use of Lyme disease vaccine. Recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR 1999;48(RR-7):1–17.