Lyme Disease During Pregnancy

Look, the last thing I want to do here is cause anyone to be alarmed more than they should be. Especially if you’re pregnant! But I believe a topic as important as this deserves it’s own space as you will no doubt hear something along the lines of this:

“There’s no conclusive evidence that Lyme disease can have any adverse effect on the unborn baby,” says Michelle Collins, CNM, an assistant professor of nurse-midwifery at Vanderbilt University.

Yes, I am pretty passionate about the subject myself since it has affected me so personally. My wife and I waited eight years for me to get better before starting a family. This was a personal choice and not everyone will need to wait this long, but I think most of us like to be informed if nothing else.

What do I think? Without a shadow of doubt I believe the statement above is wrong. I believe (and this is just my opinion) using common sense and simple logic – why on earth would we think Lyme wouldn’t effect an unborn baby? The Lyme bacteria itself is a spirochete. This means they are corkscrew shaped and similar to the well known infection ‘Syphilis’. Both are spirochete bacterium – meaning they have the unnerving ability to drill right through the soft tissues of our bodies. Doing a simple search on Syphilis you can see that it may also be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy or at birth, resulting in congenital syphilis.

I’m happy to inform you that there is a way to deal with Lyme disease while pregnant. My son is living proof that it can be done. From the first check up appointment with his pediatrician until now, Asher has consistently been fat and healthy 🙂

In the end, sure it’s a controversial topic and I think sometimes we believe what we want to believe, but why risk it? I think the hardest conundrum of this entire thing is finding a good doctor willing to work with you, which is another topic in and of itself.

Lyme & Pregnancy Facts

If you have Lyme disease and are pregnant — or think you may have been exposed to it — you’re in the right place. Here are some basics to consider:

  • Can you get Lyme disease while pregnant?
    Yes, this may seem obvious but it’s important to be vigilant at all times, especially when expecting.
  • Can an unborn baby become infected with Lyme congenitally?
    Yes, see above. While it may not happen, it is possible, which is why you should seek the help of a doctor who can treat the mother with antibiotics that are safe to use while pregnant. I’ll outline the treatment I recommend below.
  • What are the signs of Lyme disease?
    The most well known symptom of Lyme disease, is the bull’s-eye rash. It’s important to know this absolutely doesn’t occur with everyone who contracts Lyme disease, please don’t fall victim to this common misconception. Other symptoms of Lyme disease include muscle aches, swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, fever, joint pain, and headaches.
  • What are the effects of Lyme disease can have on your baby?
    Let’s hope it doesn’t come to this, but Lyme has been linked to autism, aspergers, and human deformities etc. Research is showing that 20-30% of children diagnosed with autism, are in fact, positive for Lyme disease.

Lyme is a potent disease indeed. The symptoms can vary wildly and nobody has time for that. While treating Lyme disease should be approached as an individual process, reflecting on your needs and personal factors, treating Lyme disease while pregnant is a bit more straight forward.

Treatment For Lyme While Pregnant

Mostly this treatment comes down to the fact that you’re trying to treat your body in a manner that won’t negatively affect your baby. With that said your options are narrowed on what treatment you can do because of that. Though that keeps things pretty simple, which is always nice! Keeping yourself and your unborn baby healthy is what’s important. What would be the point of treating Lyme if the treatment itself was harmful right?

Here is the basic protocol my wife and I followed prior to conception and throughout the pregnancy. Though if you’re already pregnant and just now reading this – I would start right away nonetheless:

Specifically, we followed the protocol set by most Lyme literate doctors. It is recommended that you’re on 2 different antibiotics throughout the pregnancy. If you can only take one that still greatly reduces your chances of passing on Lyme, but 2 antibiotics reduces the risk immensely.

  • Omnicef 300mg twice daily.
  • Zithromax 500mg daily.

According to Lyme specialists, the odds of transmitting Lyme to your baby is less than 1% when following this protocol.

Here is a slightly varied protocol if you’re not able to use the one above.

  • Amoxicillin in place of Zithromax.