Impact of malaria during pregnancy on low birth weight in sub-Saharan Africa.
Guyatt HL., Snow RW.
Malaria during pregnancy can result in low birth weight (LBW), an important risk factor for infant mortality. This article reviews the pathological effects of malaria during pregnancy and the implications for the newborn's development and survival. Empirical data from throughout Africa on associations between placental malaria and birth weight outcome, birth weight outcome and infant mortality, and the rates of LBW in areas with various levels of malaria transmission are evaluated to assess the increased risks of LBW and infant mortality associated with malaria. It is estimated that in areas where malaria is endemic, around 19% of infant LBWs are due to malaria and 6% of infant deaths are due to LBW caused by malaria. These estimates imply that around 100,000 infant deaths each year could be due to LBW caused by malaria during pregnancy in areas of malaria endemicity in Africa.