Odds are if you spend a lot of time in heavily wooded or grassy areas, using the right insect repellent, covering up, and checking yourself for ticks is almost second nature after an adventure to the great outdoors. Still, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that around 30,000 cases of Lyme disease occur every year in the United States [1]. And if it goes unnoticed and untreated, it can result in a number of complications down the line.

Lyme disease cases tend to affect both men and women in almost equal measure; most reported surveillance cases sit at 58% for males and 42% for females [2]. Untreated Lyme disease can cause a number of complications in both genders; from chronic joint inflammation to neurological symptoms. But when it comes to pregnancy, can Lyme disease have an effect? Here’s what to know about Lyme disease and pregnancy.

See also: The Signs and Symptoms of Lyme Disease


How does Lyme disease affect pregnancy?


Lyme disease is transmitted through the bite of an infected black-legged tick, often known as a deer tick. The ticks that carry Lyme disease are typically found in grassy, wooded areas, which is why you’re more likely to get bitten if you spend a lot of time in these sort of areas; particularly in late spring and early summer.

If you are bitten by a tick and contract Lyme disease, it will be treated with a course of antibiotics. If you’re pregnant and get Lyme disease, antibiotic treatment will be safe for both you and your baby and early detection and treatment is vital to ensure the disease doesn’t progress into a later stage. If Lyme disease goes untreated, according to the CDC, it is possible for it to spread from mother to fetus; although it’s important to note that this is rare [3].


Can Lyme disease cause birth defects?


Early diagnosis and the right treatment are crucial when it comes to treating Lyme disease in anyone; including pregnant women. While the CDC reported one case where a woman with Lyme disease gave birth to a child with a congenital heart defect, whether Lyme disease was definitely the cause of the birth defect is unclear and it is a rare occurrence [4].

If you suspect you have Lyme disease, it’s important to check in with your doctor.

See also: What Happens if Lyme Disease Goes Untreated?


Can Lyme cause miscarriage?


At the risk of sounding like a broken record; early detection and treatment are crucial when it comes to treating Lyme disease and stopping it from progressing into the later stage of the disease; which is known to cause a number of complications. More research is required to determine whether Lyme disease can cause miscarriage but according to the CDC, early treatment can prevent any complications during pregnancy.


You should get tested for Lyme disease if you have been bitten by a tick. You should especially take a Lyme disease test if the tick went undetected for over 24 hours, as there is a greater likelihood of contracting Lyme disease in these instances. If you notice Erythema migrans, ensure that you seek out testing immediately. Always bear the early symptoms in mind following significant periods spent in grassy or woodland areas.

LetsGetChecked provide an at-home Lyme Disease Test which tests the blood for antibodies that are associated with Lyme disease.

You should consider taking this test if:

  • You are presenting with symptoms of Lyme disease in the days following being bitten or having the tick removed
  • You live in a place that is rich in vegetation or woodland
  • You live in Northern America or Northern Europe
  • You go camping or hiking on a regular basis, particularly during the Summer or Autumn
  • You come into contact with larger woodland animals on a regular basis

If your symptoms are severe, go straight to your doctor.

See also: How do you Check for Lyme Disease From Home?


References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lyme Disease. Online: Cdc.gov
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lyme Disease. Online: Cdc.gov
  3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Lyme Disease. Online: Cdc.gov
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Current Trends Update: Lyme Disease and Cases Occurring during Pregnancy -- United States. Online: Cdc.gov