Lyme disease during pregnancy and nursing

During pregnancy

Pregnant women who visit or live in areas where ticks carry Lyme disease should watch carefully for signs of the illness so that they can be diagnosed and treated promptly. Women who get Lyme disease during pregnancy should be assured that with proper treatment, there is very little risk of harm to their fetus.

There is no conclusive evidence that untreated Lyme disease during pregnancy leads to birth defects, premature births, or stillbirths, but the effects of the disease on the fetus are not fully understood.

During breast-feeding

There is no evidence that nursing mothers infected with Lyme disease can pass the illness to their babies. However, if a woman who is breast-feeding is suspected of having Lyme disease, she should stop nursing her baby until she has completed her course of antibiotic treatment.

The baby should be watched for signs of infection. If he or she becomes ill, blood testing for Lyme disease should be done.

Last Updated: September 3, 2008

Author: Maria G. Essig, MS, ELS

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Christine Hahn, MD - Epidemiology

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