Can ticks be harmful during pregnancy?

According to experts, this year will see a significant influx of ticks due to the harsh winter and strong spring season that is expected in many areas of the country. Many of these areas are also faced with an overpopulation of animals, especially deer that are part of many communities and are roaming unchecked in many areas.

This, of course, leads to the possibility of getting bit by a tick.

Typically, ticks are well in line with the development of Lyme disease. As you all know, Lyme disease is a bacterial infection typically spread from infected blacklegged ticks, or deer ticks. Symptoms typically include fever, headache, fatigue and a skin rash.

READ: Tick-borne illnesses on the rise: What you need to know

In pregnancy, if you have full-blown Lyme disease, it could lead to miscarriage and in some cases, still births – so it’s very important you immediately contact your doctor if you get bit or notice a tick on your body. That way, you can be properly monitored and treated preventatively with antibiotics. Typically, the antibiotic given is amoxicillin, which is perfectly safe during pregnancy and could prevent you from developing Lyme disease.

If a mother receives appropriate antimicrobial therapy, there should be no negative effects on the fetus.

Fortunately, many of these cases do not affect the fetus, so you can go ahead and have a healthy pregnancy. But if you’re pregnant plan on spending time outside this spring— be sure to check yourself on a regular basis, and try to monitor which areas in your community ticks are being reported in so you can protect yourself.