Pregnant women are at much higher risk of tuberculosis, researchers claim.
A major study has found that expectant mothers or those who have given birth within the past six months are 69 per cent more likely to get the illness.
The researchers from the Health Protection Agency warned midwives and GPs to look out for the symptoms of TB because it can be fatal if not treated.
Their study – published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine – examined the medical records of more than 190,000 women over 12 years.
They found the rate of TB among pregnant women or those who had given birth within the past six months was 15.4 per 100,000 compared with 9.1 per 100,000 among the general population.
They believe pregnancy may weaken a woman’s immune system, making her more susceptible to respiratory illnesses.