Causes and Management of Typhoid in Pregnancy

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One of the major health risks in pregnancy is Typhoid fever. It is a condition characterized with the slow peristaltic activity of the biliary and gastrointestinal tract in pregnancy. The antibiotic resistance among bacteria salmonellae that makes initial treatment difficult and the restricted use of antibiotics during pregnancy also makes matters worse. 


It is mainly caused by salmonella typhi

Contaminated food either not been cooked or stored

Dirty sanitary measures 

Drinking contaminated water can increase your chances of getting typhoid in pregnancy.

Transmission mode

Typhoid fever is transmitted by eating or drinking contaminated food or water that has been infected by the typhoid bacteria. The typhoid bacteria can thrive in the dried sewage or water for weeks. After eating contaminated food or water, typhoid bacteria enters the body and invades the small intestine thereby entering the blood circulation. The invading bacteria are taken by white blood cells to the spleen, liver and bone marrow where they further proliferate and re-enter the blood circulation.

Typhoid bacteria affect the biliary system, bowel’s lymphatic tissues and gall bladder and pass in large number in stools. The stool samples can be investigated for their presence, besides the blood samples.


Incubation period is within a week or two. Symptoms include:

High fever

Loss of appetite


Sore throat

Generalized pains and aches

Lassitude or lethargy



Chest congestion

Abdominal pain and discomfort


Antibiotics that destroy the Salmonella bacteria but the use of antibiotics is restricted during pregnancy and this is the main problem with typhoid treatment during pregnancy. If you have high fever, see an obstetrician for further diagnosis and proactive treatment.

If left untreated, typhoid fever might last for a month or even more so immediate treatment is very important. It becomes fatal and can cause death.

If fever is not treated, the symptoms worsen and the infected person may:

Lose weight

Develops rashes on abdomen and lower chest

Have a bloated belly

Typhoid Vaccine during Pregnancy?

Typhoid vaccine can be taken orally or in an injectable form. Oral vaccine is not considered safe during pregnancy though injectable ones can be safe. Insufficient research has been carried out on the subject. Moreover, typhoid vaccines do not provide full protection against the infection. However babies after birth are vaccinated for typhoid fever within first year of their birth.

Typhoid and its effect on baby

Salmonella is a known cause of abortion especially if left untreated. The infection affects the baby and thereby putting you to risk of miscarriage, pre-mature birth or a low birth weight baby. 

Septic and early second trimester abortions are common in typhoid affected pregnant women. This is so because typhoid patients are mostly restricted to liquid diet, there is a good chance that you and your baby miss out on healthy nutrition.

However, if the typhoid affected pregnant woman receives proper treatment the child born is usually healthy and safe.


Hygiene and personal cleanliness are very important aspects in the prevention of typhoid fever. In addition to this:

Wash hands with soap and water before and after every meal

Use a sanitizer if soap and water are not available

Use boiled water for cooking 

Wash fruits and vegetables before cooking

Eat well cooked food as heating kills bacteria

Avoid eating raw fruits and vegetables

Avoid eating food items and beverages from the street vendors

Use clean glasses and other utensils for drinking and eating food items

Even ice can also be contaminated, so avoid taking ice from street vendors

If you buy mineral water bottles, ensure they are sealed and the cap is properly intact

Desist from drinking water from pots and public taps.


Here are mentioned some serious health ailments that can result as complications of typhoid fever:

Gastrointestinal diseases

Intestinal perforation

Liver failure

Lung problems

Cardiac problems

Bone and joints infections

Infections of urinary tract

Mental problems

Septic abortions

Premature delivery



See also  "People with chronic digestive problems have a high risk of developing a fistula-Gastrointestinal Fistula

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