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Int J Gynaecol Obstet. 2003 Mar;80(3):247-53.

Tuberculosis and pregnancy.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, SCB Medical College, Cuttack, India.



There are many myths surrounding pregnancy and tuberculosis (TB), and outcome of treatment. This prospective study was conducted at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, SCB Medical College, Cuttack, India, and at the authors' private clinics from 1986 to 2001 to determine the outcome of pregnancy if TB is treated properly.


A total of 111 pregnant women diagnosed as having pulmonary and glandular TB were included in the study. They were matched for age, parity, and socioeconomic status with 51 pregnant women without TB (first control group), and 51 women with pulmonary TB but without pregnancy (second control group). The usual pregnancy management was given to the women in the study group, along with a short course of chemotherapy: either ethambutol, INH, or rifampicin and pyrazinamide for 2 months followed by INH and rifampicin for 4 months; or ethambutol, INH, and rifampicin for 2 months followed by INH and rifampicin for 7 months. Statistical analysis was done using a chi(2)-test.


There were no statistical differences in duration of gestation, preterm labor, and other complications of pregnancy, labor, and puerperium between the pregnancy groups. There were no congenital anomalies in the babies born to the groups. Pregnancy had no effect on the course of TB as regards sputum conversion, stabilization of the disease, and non-relapse even after 2-5 years of follow-up and a further delivery in a few cases.


If proper and adequate chemotherapy is given to pregnant women with TB, they are not a higher risk than non-pregnant women with TB. Neither the disease nor chemotherapy is threatening to mother or newborn. However, today the ominous combination of human immunodeficiency virus, TB, and pregnancy poses a new challenge.

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