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Sullivan, A.D., T. Nyirenda, T. Cullinan, R. Taylor, Sioban D. Harlow, Sherman James, and Steven R. Meshnick. 1999. "Malaria Infection During Pregnancy: Intraurine Growth Retardation and Pre-term Delivery in Malawi." Journal of Infectious Disease, 179 (6), 1580-1583.
In sub-Saharan Africa, malaria infection in pregnancy contributes to low birth weight through intrauterine growth retardation (IUGR) and preterm delivery (PTD). It was hypothesized that malaria-associated PTD and IUGR have differing etiologies due to timing of infection. In a prospective cohort of primigravid women enrolled at the antenatal clinic of Mangochi District Hospital in Malawi, the associations were investigated between antenatal or delivery parasitemias and IUGR or PTD. Among 178 singleton deliveries, 35% of infants were preterm or had IUGR. Cord blood parasitemia (odds ratio [OR] = 3.34; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.38.8], placental parasitemia (OR = 2.43; 95% CI, 1.25.1), and postdelivery maternal peripheral parasitemia (OR = 2.78; 95% CI, 1.36.1) were associated with PTD. Parasitemia and/or clinically diagnosed malaria in the antenatal period was associated with IUGR (OR = 5.13; 95% CI, 1.419.4). Delivery parasitemias had borderline associations with IUGR. The risk patterns observed suggest that the timing and severity of infection influences the occurrence of IUGR or PTD.