Is It Safe to Travel to Malaria Risk Areas During Pregnancy?

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Ask the experts

My husband and I are planning to visit Egypt several months from now. We have been told that Egypt is a "malaria risk area." We will be in a number of parts of Egypt.

I am a woman in my early thirties and am now trying to become pregnant. If I become pregnant, will the drugs you have to take to keep from getting malaria be a problem?

Doctor's response

You face a possible dilemma. Whether or not to become pregnant and, if so, whether or not to go to Egypt.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (the CDC) advises that "Travel To Malaria Risk Areas During Pregnancy is NOT Recommended."

The CDC states that: "It is best if you can postpone travel to a malaria risk-area during your pregnancy. If not, taking an antimalarial (a drug to prevent malaria) and preventing mosquito bites is recommended to reduce, but not eliminate, the risk of developing malaria. Experience with the antimalarials mefloquine and chloroquine indicate that they are safe to take during pregnancy, including the first trimester." (The first trimester is the first three months of pregnancy.)

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Reviewed on 1/11/2018
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