Tuberculosis (TB) in Pregnancy
Tuberculosis is a chronic infectious disease caused by an organism Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Over 90% of new TB cases and deaths occur in developing countries.
TB is the leading infectious cause of death among women of reproductive age.
TB has increased by 10 folds over the last 15 years in Kenya.
Factors Leading to TB Increase
- HIV epidemic.
- Poor nutrition.
- Limited access to healthcare services.
Types of TB
- Pulmonary TB (The most common and infectious type of TB)
- ExtraPulmonary TB-Affects outside the lungs. It affects bladder, testes, bones, intestines, skin, ovaries, lungs, meninges. The most common EPTB occurs in the glands and its called TB Lymphadenitis.
Signs & Symptoms of Pulmonary TB
- Persistent cough lasting for 2 or more weeks with or without bloodstained sputum.
- Loss of body weight.
- Intermittent fever.
- Excessive night sweats.
- Shortness of breath.
- Loss of appetite.
- Chest pain.
- Excessive tiredness and generally feeling unwell.
Signs and Symptoms of lymphadenitis
- Slow and painless enlargement of the lymph nodes which eventually discharge pus. The most common lymphadenitis is cervical neck.
- Generalised lymph nodes enlargement.
When does TB pass from the mother to the baby?
Pregnant women infected with TB can pass it to the baby through the placental barrier causing foetal death or infection.
Can lead to congenital TB.
At birth, when the baby inhales or ingests infected amniotic fluid or secretions.
When the baby inhales droplet secretions if the mother is the coughing.
TB affects the health of a pregnant woman and the baby.
TB in pregnant women can lead to:-
- Premature birth of the baby.
- Low birth weights of the baby/ small baby.
- Death of the baby in the uterus.
- Infecting the baby with TB.
- Increased new born deaths.
– Smear positive TB cases are the most infectious to the new born and other children in the household.
– The smear negative cases and EPTB are diagnosed through history, physical examination, radiography and histology.