Tuberculosis (TB) in pregnancy – A review

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2021 Feb 19;259:167-177. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2021.02.016. Online ahead of print.


Tuberculosis (TB) is a common infectious pathology especially in low-income countries, which may complicate pregnancy. Although pulmonary TB is more common in pregnancy than extra pulmonary TB (EPTB), EPTB is becoming more common especially in those living with human deficiency virus (HIV) co infection or have other comorbidities. The diagnosis of TB may be delayed in pregnancy due to the masking of its symptoms by those of pregnancy. If diagnosed and treated on time both pulmonary TB and EPTB are associated with excellent maternal and perinatal outcome. If, however, there is delay in diagnosis and treatment then there could be adverse maternal and fetal consequences like preterm labour, fetal growth restriction and even stillbirths. Similarly severe forms of TB like disseminated disease (miliary TB) or multi drug resistant TB (MDR TB) are associated with poor outcome. Diagnosis and management is same as in non-pregnant patients. Both drug sensitive pulmonary TB and EPTB are treated with four drugs (isoniazid, rifampicin, pyrazinamide and ethambutol) orally daily for 2 months followed by three drugs (isoniazid, rifampicin and ethambutol) orally daily for 4 months. Drug resistant TB is treated with second line drugs with caution, as some of these drugs are teratogenic. Optimum antenatal care and nutrition therapy along with anti-tuberculosis drugs provide for optimum maternal and perinatal outcome. This review discusses maternal and perinatal outcomes, diagnosis and management of pulmonary TB and extrapulmonary TB as well as perinatal tuberculosis.

PMID:33684671 | DOI:10.1016/j.ejogrb.2021.02.016