Gestational Lyme Disease – Exposure to Lyme Disease and Co-infections
Unfortunately, there is great debate within the medical community regarding the existence and prevalence of the transmission of Lyme disease, co-infections, and parasites to the unborn fetus.
The medical community already recognizes that certain infections cross the placental barrier and they are known as “TORCH Syndrome” infections which include: Toxoplasmosis, Other (i.e., Syphilis), Rubella, Cytomegalovirus, and Herpes Simplex Virus. These infections become of great concern to the physician when unexplained birth defects occur in newborn babies. Antibody titer blood tests for “TORCH” infections in these babies yields insights into the cause of the birth defects, and this phenomenon is well established in the infectious disease medical community.
Operating purely from a perspective of common sense, if Syphilis crosses the placental barrier and can cause birth defects, why wouldn’t Borrelia, since they are both spirochetes and share similar gene sequences? During the 1980’s, Dr. Alan MacDonald, a pathologist in Long Island, New York, wrote several scientific case studies documenting the presence of spirochetes in the tissues of both aborted fetal births, and children born with significant birth defects. Unfortunately, his research was largely ignored by the mainstream medical community for reasons that remain elusive to this day. Most likely, his work was ahead of its time.
Tessa Gardner, MD, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Washington, St. Louis, MO also wrote an entire chapter in a book devoted to infections of the unborn and newborn child, titled “Infectious Diseases of the Fetus and Newborn Infant” Philadelphia, Saunders, 2001. In this chapter she discusses the possibility of Lyme Disease transmission from mother to child in utero.
Therefore, it is important to recognize that women who intend on becoming pregnant or who are pregnant and have Lyme disease, take the necessary precautions to prevent the transfer of Borrelia to their unborn child. This entails using appropriate antibiotics before, during and after pregnancy, as it is also likely that Borrelia is transmitted through the mother’s milk (personal communication with Dr. Charles Ray Jones) to a developing infant.
Although there is sparse scientific evidence regarding congenital and gestational Lyme disease, the concept falls easily within the parameters of common sense and can be prevented, simply by appropriate antibiotic use during pregnancy.
Additionally, there is good reason to believe that certain cases of autism are in fact the result of congenital Lyme disease. Since Borrelia is known to be involved in a myriad of neurological disorders including: ALS, Parkinson’s Disease, Alzheimer’s Disease and Multiple Sclerosis, logic follows that we might suspect similar involvement in childhood neurological disorders such as autism, ADHD, sensory integration and processing difficulties, learning differences, dyslexia, Aspberger’s Syndrome, and a host of other unexplained disorders.
For those of you who have Lyme disease and wish to become pregnant or who are pregnant, please consider consulting a “Lyme Literate Doctor” during your pregnancy to avoid unwanted complications that can be circumvented by the administration of antibiotics throughout pregnancy.
If you do have Lyme disease, it is also a good idea to do PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) testing on the cord blood and placenta for Borrelia, at the time of birth. You can contact Igenex at 800-832-3200 and order a test kit which can be available at the time of birth so that blood and tissue samples can be assayed for spirochetal DNA.
As for the co-infections of Lyme disease, there is currently sparse evidence regarding the transmission of Babesia, Ehrlichia, Anaplasma, Bartonella, Tularemia, Mycoplasma and other zoonotic diseases to the unborn fetus and newborn infant. However, yet again, application of common sense would suggest that these diseases are quite likely to cross the placental barrier just as Syphilis does, which has been extensively scientifically documented.