Lyme disease is an increasingly recognized tick-borne illness caused by a spirochete, Borrelia burgdorferi. Because the etiologic agent of Lyme disease is a spirochete, there has been concern about the effect of maternal Lyme disease on pregnancy outcome. We reviewed cases of Lyme disease in pregnant women who were identified before knowledge of the pregnancy outcomes. Nineteen cases were identified with onset between 1976 and 1984. Eight of the women were affected during the first trimester, seven during the second trimester, and two during the third trimester; in two, the trimester of onset was unknown. Thirteen received appropriate antibiotic therapy for Lyme disease. Of the 19 pregnancies, five had adverse outcomes, including syndactyly, cortical blindness, intrauterine fetal death, prematurity, and rash in the newborn. Adverse outcomes occurred in cases with infection during each of the trimesters. Although B burgdorferi could not be implicated directly in any of the adverse outcomes, the frequency of such outcomes warrants further surveillance and studies of pregnant women with Lyme disease.
JAMA. 1986 Jun 27;255(24):3394-6