When a Lymie gets pregnant she may feel fear and guilt, mixed with joy and excitement. Lyme can be congenital which is cause for concern, and new life is miraculous which is cause for happiness. This mixture of emotions results from the somewhat unchartered territory of congenital Lyme, preventing transmission, and supporting a sick mom through pregnancy. Some Lymie moms can be exhausted and depleted and may suffer worsening symptoms. Others go into “remission” during pregnancy only to relapse hard after. I’ve read about and met women with various experiences. I’ve compared research by Lyme physicians in an attempt to better understand transmission. Although I need more time on this topic and am by no means an expert, what I did learn I will share here, as maybe a starting point for others who are interested. Essentially, like Lyme treatment itself, there is no set protocol or always successful plan for pregnancy.
– Most of the children I have personally met with congenital Lyme seemed healthy at birth, but as time passed symptoms appeared. Everything from digestive unease to vision problems to slow growth to learning disabilities. If left untreated children will eventually become quite ill and the infections will have suppressed the immune system. By age five or six a child may have asthma, allergies, emotional problems, and pain. Usually the infections settle in the kidneys and spleen, as well as bone marrow. Bone pain from infection is often mistaken for growing pains!
– If tested at birth (placenta and umbilical cord blood should be sent away for testing), parents can begin treating with a paediatric Lyme specialist. The sooner the better. In most cases an infant or toddler needs only six months of treatment to eradicate the disease. Left untreated, the child may grow up to become as ill and whole-body affected. I DO NOT KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT TREATING CHILDREN. I WOULD SUGGEST READING THE ARTICLES AND CONFERENCE NOTES OF DR. CHARLES RAY JONES, CONTACTING ILADS, FINDING MOMS ON INSTAGRAM WHO HAVE SUCCESSFULLY TREATED THEIR CHILDREN.
– Borrelia burgdorferi (Lyme bacteria) and associated coinfections like Bartonella and Babesia, can be transmitted transplacentally to the fetus.
– Bb has been found in breast milk, despite what the CDC and other case studies by medical authorities report.
– While pregnant, the mom should use a combination of medications from varying antibiotic families. At least one of these meds should cross the placenta. Without treatment there is up to a 66% chance of transmission of Lyme bacteria infection to the fetus. With one antibiotic like amoxicillin or bicillin injections the risk of transmission is reduced to 25%. But with a combination of two or more antibiotics, the chance of congenital Lyme is reduced to just 5%.
– Some women remain on the antibiotic combination throughout the following year while breastfeeding. Others opt to use formula to prevent any chance of transmission of infections via breast milk.
– Antibiotics like penicillins, cephalosporins, and macrolides like Zithromax are considered safe in pregnancy (Zithromax does not readily cross the placenta, so it is more for the mother).
– Clindamycin IVs are effective in the second and third trimesters, especially when there are coinfections like Babesia.
– Cleocin (Clindamycin), Mepron (atovaquone), and Zithromax are a combination for prevention of Babesia during the third trimester. Although this seems pretty intense. Strong meds like this may prevent babesia transmission, but the herxes can be strong, too. Herxing for prolonged periods or being toxic can stress the baby. I don’t know any doctor who treats babesia during pregnancy but I am sure some do.
– Imtramuscular injections of Bicillin LA are very effective, especially in women with severe morning sickness who cannot tolerate oral amoxicillin. The injections provide a stable dosage each week. Usually doctors prescribe 2.4 million units, divided into two shots, one in each hip, once a week. If taking amoxicillin, Lyme specialists recommend 1000mg TIB.
– Rocephin IVs, especially during the first trimester when organs are developing, may prove to be a wise choice. It also reduces the risk of miscarriage by preventing early infection and complications due to Lyme.
– In a sense, Lyme in pregnancy can be likened to syphilis. If a pregnant woman suffers from the spirochetal bacteria syphilis, she is routinely tested and treated with intramuscular bicillin injections. Like syphilis, Lyme can cause miscarriage, low birth weight, or deformities.
– Lymie moms often suffer from hypercoagulation, leading to miscarriage. To ensure healthy, oxygenated blood goes to baby Lovenox or Heparin injections are often prescribed. Do not use the multi-use vials but the pre-filled syringes. The multi-use vials contain a preservative that MAY cross the placenta and cause development problems.
– To further oxygenate and purify the blood talk to a ND or TCM about chlorella and Tang Kuei & Peony Formula. Remember, the baby’s “food” source is blood. Lymies have “dirty” blood so keeping the red blood cells from sticking, and increasing the oxygen and iron carrying abilities is important.
– The problem with doing Lyme treatment with heavy pharmaceuticals is the chance of becoming toxic. Many of the detox methods used by Lymies are not safe in pregnancy. It is important to not become toxic and not to herx too long. A functional medicine doctor can likely oversee this process.
– There is no research on the effectiveness of herbal protocols in preventing congenital Lyme. Many physicians warn against moms continuing herbal treatments. Some have moms stay on the tinctures but they are not sure if it is helping mom and baby, or just mom.
– IF MOM IS ON A COMBO OF ANTIBIOTICS SHE SHOULD NOT BOTHER GETTING THE UMBILICAL CORD BLOOD TESTED AT BIRTH. The tests available through labs like Igenex require a person to be off treatment for six weeks or more. Otherwise the results are skewed. But quitting treatment for six weeks is dangerous if trying to prevent transmission. In this case, it may be better to stay on treatment until delivery, and then have baby tested later on by age one or two, or if symptoms appear. For information on testing, see my previous articles.
There are resources online and in books to help women determine a plan to prevent transmission of Lyme in utero. The first three months are critical, especially as miscarriage rates are highest during this trimester. An excellent resource on effective combinations of IV, oral, and injectable antibiotics can be found in the books of Dr. Richard Horowitz. In his first book, Why Can’t I Get Better? he provides a detailed account of how he treated one of his pregnant patients on pages 93-98. In his second book, Dr. Horowitz retells the story but with a bit more information (How Can I Get Better? pages 89-93). Some people I spoke with prevented congenital Lyme by simply taking 1000mg of amoxicillin TIB, others had better success combining two or three antibiotics. Most doctors are leery of treating babesia during pregnancy, but this parasite can be passed from mother to fetus.
Another great resource is Dr. Joseph Burrascano. His guidelines, including dosages, can be found at: http://www.lymenet.org/BurrGuide200810.pdf Pages 18-20 of this document contain information regarding pregnancy and congenital Lyme.
Dr. Charles Ray Jones is of course the leading expert in pediatric Lyme care. He has videos and articles online regarding the seriousness of congenital Lyme and some means of prevention.
It is difficult to find a physician willing to prescribe medications to prevent congenial Lyme, but it is imperative for parents to pursue. The CDC and other health authorities make it sound like Lyme is not transmitted in utero or breastmilk, but it is. Don’t take comfort in information from those sites; these are the same sources who say chronic Lyme doesn’t exist and that the number of cases is much lower than in reality. Research case studies and articles by physicians who are on the frontlines researching and treating Lyme, who see the devastation of Lyme in small children.
I want to learn more about this topic. Please share your research or experiences with me via email or commenting on this post. There is not much information readily available so I feel we need to help each other by sharing and pooling our resources.