Larry Langdon
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Lyme Disease and Pregnancy

A pathogen delivered by an infected blacklegged tick causes Lyme disease (also called a deer tick). This tick prefers to reside in woody regions, such as woods, or in areas where there is a lot of grass and bushes. Lyme disease is most common in the United States' northeast and upper Midwest. You can find out if you reside in a Lyme disease-affected area by contacting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Lyme disease ticks are small (about the size of an apple seed) and might be difficult to spot. Ticks that are young can bite in the spring and summer, and adult ticks are more active in the fall and winter. Ticks cannot fly, but they can attach themselves to you via a plant or an animal.

A tick carrying Lyme disease must be on your body for at least two days before infecting you. Ticks have the ability to bite you wherever on your body. Check for ticks behind your armpits, behind your knees, in your hair, and around your groin after being outside.

Lyme disease cannot be contracted through touching, kissing, or having intercourse with someone who has the disease. You can not pass it on to your infant through breast milk either. Lyme disease might cause issues for the baby if contracted during pregnancy, however it is not very common. Early diagnosis and treatment can help recover from Lyme disease and prevent complications during pregnancy.

 

What Impact Does Lyme Illness Have On Your Pregnancy?

The implications of Lyme disease on pregnancy are unknown at this time. Because such a risk analysis is difficult to do, not much is known about the probable negative effects of Borrelia infections during pregnancy. Borrelia burgdorferi has been found to transmit transplacentally (through the placenta) in various animal experiments. As a result, it was hypothesized that B. burgdorferi could cause prenatal infection and teratogenicity, especially given the parallels between Lyme borreliosis and syphilis. Several clinical, serological, and epidemiological research, however, have failed to find a link between B. burgdorferi infection and a negative pregnancy outcome. Furthermore, no cases of Borrelia transfer through breast milk have been recorded. Antibiotic treatment should be the first line of treatment for pregnant women with Lyme disease, depending on the clinical manifestations and time of the tick bite. Because no effective vaccine exists, Lyme borreliosis prevention relies on public and medical education, as well as adequate antibiotic medication during pregnancy.

Untreated Lyme disease during pregnancy can result in placental infection. It is possible for the virus to spread from the mother to the fetus, although this is uncommon. Fortunately, with proper antibiotic therapy, there is no increased risk of complications during pregnancy.

Lyme disease, if left untreated during pregnancy can increase the risk of the following:

Placental infection

A placental infection is a condition in which the placenta becomes infected. The placenta develops in your uterus (womb) and provides nourishment and oxygen to your baby via the umbilical cord.

Stillbirth

When a baby dies in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy, this is known as stillbirth. Lyme disease during pregnancy increases the risk of still birth.

Congenital heart defects

Heart defects that are present at birth are congenital heart defects that are present at birth. They can alter the shape or function of the heart, or both. Lyme disease during pregnancy increases the risk of the baby being born with congenital heart disease.

Defects in the urinary tract

The urinary tract is a collection of organs (including the kidneys and bladder) that aid in the removal of waste and excess fluids from the body. Pain, urinary tract infections, kidney damage, and kidney failure can all be caused by urinary tract defects.

Hyperbilirubinemia

Hyperbilirubinemia occurs when the baby's blood contains an excessive amount of bilirubin. Bilirubin is a yellow chemical produced by the breakdown of red blood cells. Jaundice can be caused by too much bilirubin in the baby. Because the liver isn't fully developed or operating, the baby's skin and white areas of his eyes will seem yellow.

Rashes in the baby

Untreated Lyme disease might potentially create a rash in the baby after he or she is delivered.

 

What To Do If You Are Pregnant And Suspect Lyme Disease?

If you're pregnant and think you might have Lyme disease, call your doctor right away.

Untreated Lyme disease during pregnancy can result in placental infection. It is possible for the virus to spread from the mother to the fetus, although this is uncommon. Fortunately, there is no increased risk of bad delivery outcomes with adequate antibiotic treatment. There are no studies that have been published that look at the developmental outcomes of children whose moms contracted Lyme disease while pregnant.

 

How is Lyme Disease Diagnosed?

Your healthcare practitioner would take a complete history and perform a detailed clinical examination. Your healthcare practitioner may decide to test your blood or treat you for Lyme disease based on your symptoms. The longer you've been infected, the more accurate blood testing becomes. A Lyme disease blood test may not be positive for 4-6 weeks after you become unwell (there is ongoing research to find improved methods of testing).

 

How is Lyme Disease Treated During Pregnancy?

Antibiotic treatment in the early stages of Lyme disease usually results in a complete recovery. Pregnant women are treated in the same way and safely as non-pregnant adults, with oral amoxicillin or oral cefuroxime axetil for two to three weeks. Antibiotics such as doxycycline is typically not prescribed during pregnancy since they can harm the fetus. It is not advisable to self-medicate for Lyme diseae, especially of pregnant.

 

What Is The Prognosis?

Beginning treatment early, adequate rest and takin antibiotics as prescribed can help recover completely. Recovery may take several weeks or longer.

There is no test available currently to test if one has been cured of Lyme disease. Retesting for Lyme disease is not recommended because blood tests might be positive for months or years after being treated. A positive test doesn’t mean one still infected. It simply means that the immune system still remembers the infection.

It’s possible to get Lyme disease again if bitten by another infected tick, hence it is Important To Protect Oneself From Tick Bites.

 

What Are The Lyme Disease Signs And Symptoms Lyme Disease?

Lyme disease symptoms and signs vary depending on how long you've been infected. Consult your doctor if you're pregnant and have been bitten by a tick, or if you live in or have traveled to an area where Lyme disease is prevalent.

The following are early signs and symptoms (within a month of being bitten):

  • Erythema migrans is a type of rash (also called EM). The rash around where the tick bit you looks like a bull's eye. It may or may not be itchy, and it may or may not feel warm.
  • Tiredness (being really tired and having little energy)
  • Chills and fever
  • Headache
  • Pain in the muscles and joints
  • Lymph nodes that are swollen. Lymph nodes are glands found all over the body that aid in the fight against infection. Unless they're enlarged, you won't be able to feel them.

 

The following are later signs or symptoms (a few months after being bitten):

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Facial paralysis due to an EM rash. When you can't feel or move parts of your face, it's called a facial paralysis.
  • Swelling and discomfort in the joints
  • Headache that is severe
  • Neck stiffness
  • If you have signs or symptoms of Lyme disease, call your healthcare practitioner right away so you can begin treatment and avoid complications. A blood test is given to you by your doctor to screen for Lyme disease and other illnesses. The results of Lyme disease tests sometimes take several weeks to arrive.

 

Even after receiving therapy, you may experience signs and symptoms for up to 6 months. This is known as Lyme disease post-treatment syndrome (also called PTLDS or chronic Lyme disease). Tell your doctor if you don't feel better following treatment.

 

How Do You Protect Yourself From Lyme Disease?

There is currently no vaccine available to prevent Lyme disease. However, the risk of Lyme disease and avoiding tick bites can be lowered by the following ways:

Avoiding areas where ticks can be found
Blacklegged ticks (the ticks that spread Lyme disease) prefer wet, humid surroundings, especially in and around woodland or grassy regions. Ticks can be picked up while doing outdoor activities near your home or wandering through leaves and plants. To avoid ticks, stay in the middle of trails and stay away from thick bushes and other plants.

Using insect repellents

Ticks are repelled from the skin and clothing if insect repellents with DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus, para-menthane-diol, or 2-undecanone that have been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are used. Permethrin (0.5 percent )-containing products should be used on garments, boots, pants, socks, and tents. It maintains its protecting properties after multiple washes. Clothing that has been pre-treated is also available and may provide longer protection.

Check for ticks on a daily basis

After being outside, even in your own yard, check your body for ticks. When you return from a tick-infested location, check your entire body for ticks. View all portions of your body using a hand-held or full-length mirror and remove any ticks you detect. Check these areas of your body and child's body (if there are children) for ticks with extra caution.

Ticks trapped in the skin of a host are commonly found in the following areas:

  • In and around the ears and under the arms
  • Within the bellybutton
  • Between the legs, behind the knees, and in and around all head and body hair
  • around the midriff

Ticks can be carried into the house, so check your clothing and pets for them. Check your clothes and pets for ticks and remove any that you find. Ticks can be killed by putting garments in a high-heat dryer.

Remove Ticks Attached Correctly and Quickly

As soon as you see an attached tick, remove it with fine-tipped tweezers. Lyme disease is exceedingly unlikely to be transmitted if a tick is attached to your skin for less than 24 hours; however, other infections may be transmitted more quickly.

Be alert for symptoms of Lyme disease
Keep an eye out for signs or symptoms of Lyme disease, such as a rash or a fever, in the coming weeks. If you have any indications or symptoms, you should see a doctor. See tick removal for further details.

Keep an eye out for a fever or rash

An unexpected summer fever or strange rash, especially if you've been in tick habitat, may be the first indicators of Lyme disease, even if you don't remember getting bitten by a tick. If you're experiencing any symptoms, make an appointment with your doctor.

Prevent Ticks on Animals

Limit your family pets' access to tick-infested regions and use veterinarian-prescribed tick prevention items on your pets to keep ticks out of the house.

Keeping the yard tick free

Create "Tick-Safe Zones" in your landscaping. It's quite straightforward. Keep shrubs, bushes, and other vegetation away from patios, play areas, and playground equipment. To keep ticks away from recreational areas, regularly remove leaves, clear tall grasses and bushes around your home, and lay wood chips or gravel between lawns and forested areas (and away from you).

Make use of a chemical pesticide

To lower the amount of ticks in treated areas of your yard, use acaricides (tick pesticides). Spraying, on the other hand, will not lessen your chance of infection. Adult ticks' primary feeding source is deer. Deter deer from entering your yard and bringing ticks with them by removing plants that attract deer and erecting obstacles (such as a fence) to keep them out. ‚Äč

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