e-Library of Evidence for Nutrition Actions (eLENA)

Insecticide-treated nets to prevent malaria and anaemia in pregnant women

Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to malaria as pregnancy reduces a woman’s immunity, making her more susceptible to malaria infection and increasing the risk of illness, anaemia, severe disease and death. For the unborn child, maternal malaria increases the risk of spontaneous abortion, stillbirth, premature delivery and low birth weight – a leading cause of child mortality.

Evidence shows that in malaria-endemic areas, sleeping under mosquito nets treated with an insecticide – usually a pyrethroid – is beneficial to the health of the pregnant woman, her fetus and the newborn infant.

To ensure universal coverage of insecticide-treated bednets for all people living in malaria risk areas, one bednet for use by every two people is recommended. Where this is not possible, WHO recommends making insecticide-treated bednets available to all pregnant women living in areas with stable (high) transmission of Plasmodium falciparum as a priority group. Their use should be encouraged throughout pregnancy and during the postpartum period to reduce the adverse effects of malaria, including anaemia.

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Last update:

10 April 2014 16:39 CEST

Category 2 intervention

Systematic review(s) have been conducted but no recent guidelines yet available that have been approved by the WHO Guidelines Review Committee