Sexually Transmitted Infections in Pregnancy
- Pregnant women can become infected with the same sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as non-pregnant women.
- The effects of STIs can be a lot more serious for pregnant women since they can affect the baby.
- STIs can be passed from the pregnant woman to the baby before, during, or after the baby’s birth.
- Some STIs cross the placenta and infect the unborn baby during its development.
- Other STIs are passed to the infant during birth as it passes through the birth canal.
- Harmful effects on the baby may include eye infections, low birth weight, pneumonia infection in the baby’s blood, brain damage, blindness, deafness, greater chance of miscarriage or stillbirth (a baby that is born dead).
Treatment During Pregnancy
- Infections caused by bacteria such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomonas, and bacterial vaginosis can be treated and cured during pregnancy with antibiotics.
- Infections caused by a virus such as genital herpes and HIV can not be cured, but certain medications may reduce the symptoms in the pregnant woman
- Caesarean delivery (‘c-section’) of the baby may be performed to protect the newborn from the infection.
- If you are pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant, talk to your doctor about getting tested for STIs.
- Usually your doctor will test you for STIs during your prenatal visits.
- It is very important to attend all of your prenatal visits.
- Using a condom every time you have sex is highly effective in preventing HIV infections and reducing the risk of infection with gonorrhea, chlamydia, trichomoniasis, and other STIs.