Insecticide-treated nets to reduce the risk of malaria in pregnant women
Pregnancy reduces a woman’s immunity, making pregnant women 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 is beneficial to the health of the pregnant woman, her fetus and the newborn infant. Long-lasting insecticidal nets are designed to maintain their effectiveness against mosquitoes that carry malaria and other diseases for at least three years. Studies have shown that long-lasting insecticidal nets may be less expensive to use than conventionally treated nets.
Insecticide-treated nets are safe for use as a personal protection method during pregnancy. Women should start using them as early in pregnancy as possible, and continue to use them throughout pregnancy and in the postpartum period for both mother and child.
Universal access to and use of long-lasting insecticidal nets remains the goal for all people at risk of malaria.
In endemic areas with intense malaria transmission (stable malaria), all infants at their first immunization and all pregnant women as early as possible in pregnancy should receive one long-lasting insecticidal net through immunization and antenatal care visits.
This is a summary of WHO recommendations on using insecticide-treated nets to prevent malaria and anaemia in pregnant women. The full set of recommendations can be found in the guidance documents, under ‘WHO documents’ below.
Status: not currently available
Other guidance documents
WHO recommendations for achieving universal coverage with long-lasting insecticidal nets in malaria control
Insecticide-treated mosquito nets: a WHO position statement
Related Cochrane reviews
Other related systematic reviews
Insecticide-treated nets for the prevention of malaria in pregnancy: a systematic review of randomized control trials