Prevent Lyme Disease While Pregnant◀ Back To Blog
June 17, 2015
There's plenty to look forward to in the beautiful summer months ahead: Sunshine, warmer temperatures, outdoor workouts ... and ticks.
Wait, ticks? Unfortunately, yes. Experts predict ticks will be out in huge numbers over the summer, thanks to the abnormally snowy winter that helped "blanket" the little parasites, protecting them from harsh cold that usually helps control the population. This means your risk of contracting a tick-borne illness like Lyme disease from a tick bite is heightened this year, especially if you spend a lot of time outdoors.
Should you be worried about your unborn child when it comes to Lyme? Yes and no, according to tick-borne disease experts in an article from Fit Pregnancy.
Lyme disease can't be transmitted to unborn babies
- Lyme disease won't affect your child in the womb as long as you get treatment, according to Jorge Parada, MD, infectious disease specialist and medical advisor with the National Pest Management Association.
- "There are no reports of Lyme disease transmission from mother to fetus," Dr. Parada told FitPregnancy.com. Even better: "There is no evidence that links Lyme disease in pregnant women to birth defects and there's no evidence showing that Lyme disease can be transmitted via breast milk."
Miscarriage and untreated Lyme disease
- If left untreated, Lyme disease contracted during pregnancy may lead to infection of the placenta and possible miscarriage.
- Catching the symptoms drastically reduces this from happening.
- "No negative effects on the fetus have been found when the mother receives appropriate, timely antibiotic treatment," says Dr. Parada. Typically, treatment involves a course of antibiotics given by your doctors over 10 days to four weeks, depending on the symptoms and the amount of time the Lyme has been in your body.
Lyme disease shows up with a variety of symptoms
- One of the easiest ways to tell if you have Lyme disease is via a red rash somewhere on your body that resembles a bull's eye (think a large, red outer ring with a red dot inside).
- However, not all people with Lyme will develop a rash, according to Richard Horowitz, MD, tick-borne disease specialist and author of Why Can't I Get Better? Solving the Mystery of Lyme & Chronic Disease. "Migratory muscle, nerve and joint pain—meaning that it goes from one place to another—is the hallmark of Lyme disease," he says.
- Go to your doctor right away if you've been in high-risk tick areas (like with plenty of trees and tall grass) and feel severe fatigue, joint pain and inflammation, even if you don't have a telltale rash to go with it.
DEET and pregnant moms
- Strong insect repellents like DEET are one way to keep ticks—and the Lyme disease they carry—at bay.
- The amount of DEET that would be absorbed through the placenta is very, very small, given that it acts as a barrier.” "It's better to use protection than to not use it."
Prevention is the best protection
The most effective way to protect you and your unborn child from Lyme disease is to avoid tick bites in the first place. Avoid ticks during pregnancy and after by staying away from tall grasses, wearing light-colored clothing (you can see ticks better), tuck your pants into your socks and doing a tick check after spending time outdoors.
Always protect yourself when you go out. And, always protect your yard from ticks. Thomas Pest Services offers tick control in Albany and throughout the Capital District and Adirondack region. Contact us to find out how we can protect your family from ticks and the dangers associated with these biting insects.