If you are pregnant and planning to travel to a malaria-risk area, it would be best to postpone your travel plans. Malaria infection in pregnant women may be severe and can increase the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, and stillbirth.
If you must travel in these areas, you should talk to your doctor beforehand and they will prescribe an antimalarial medicine for you to take.
You should also try to prevent mosquito bites to reduce the risk of contracting malaria.
Chloroquine, a type of antimalarial drug, is generally considered safe to take during pregnancy. In some malaria-risk areas, chloroquine may be less effective due to resistance to this medicine, and mefloquine may be used as an alternative.
Your doctor will prescribe an antimalarial that is best suited to the area of the world in which you are travelling and any other medical conditions you may have. You need to take antimalarials on schedule and be careful not to miss any doses.
If you are breast feeding and taking chloroquine, a very small amount of the antimalarial drug will be passed into your breast milk. This very small amount of drug will be transferred to your baby, but this has been shown not to be harmful, in general.
However, this small amount of antimalarial does not protect the baby from malaria, so infants need to be given their own antimalarial medicines.
Recommended dosages for babies and children are usually listed on the medications and will vary with the age and weight of the child. Your doctor will advise you.
All antimalarial medicines should be taken on schedule, with no missed doses.
Over-dosage of antimalarials can be fatal and these medicines should be stored in childproof containers out of the reach of children.
It is always best to take precautions to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes in high-risk areas.
It is still possible to get malaria even after using all the prevention measures, so if you experience any of the symptoms of malaria (fever and flu-like illness, including chills, muscle aches and tiredness), seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Last Reviewed: 20 February 2013