Pneumonia in the Pregnant Patient: A Synopsis

, and , Division of Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, Winthrop University Hospital, Mineola, NY


Medscape General Medicine. 1999;1(3) 

In This Article


Virtually any infectious agent that causes pneumonia in the nonpregnant host has been reported to complicate pregnancy. The relative frequency of causative organisms is difficult to determine because of incomplete methodologies in the documentation of the etiologic agent, with the inciting pathogen remaining unidentified in many cases. True incidences of viral, Mycoplasma, and Legionella pneumonias are particularly difficult to estimate without comprehensive serological testing.

Table II summarizes the bacteriology of pneumonia reported in the major series of pneumonia in the pregnant population. The relative incidence of individual pathogens in the pregnant patient with pneumonia is similar to those reported in nonpregnant hosts of comparable age. The methodology is limited due to incomplete and retrospective diagnostic testing. Additionally, numerous case reports and selected limited series show a role for some less common etiologic agents or predisposing disease processes, including mumps, infectious mononucleosis, swine influenza, influenza A, Legionella, Varicella, Chlamydia pneumoniae, coccidioidomycosis, and other fungal pathogens.[6,16,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,26,27,28,29,30,31,32,33]

Whether the prevalence of these infectious agents or diseases is more common in pregnancy than in the nonpregnant state is unclear, but certain pathogens/processes do represent a greater hazard to the pregnant woman because of her physiologic defects in cell-mediated immunity.[5]


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