STD’s and STI’s During Pregnancy

August 16, 2010



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There are a variety of sexually transmitted diseases and infections which can be dangerous for the fetus and or the mother during pregnancy. Most of these diseases are easily treated and diagnosed.

It is recommended that all pregnant women be tested in early pregnancy for sexually transmitted diseases.

The following are the sexually transmitted diseases and infections that are of concern during pregnancy:

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) can cause pregnant women to have babies which are born prematurely or with a low birth weight.

BV can also spread to the uterus or fallopian tubes. When this occurs, it is known as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).

This infection can be treated with antibiotics.

Chlamydia

Chlamydia infection can be passed from the mother to her baby. About half of all women with Chlamydial infection have no symptoms.

If your test is positive you will likely be treated with an antibiotic and your partner will be tested and possibly treated as well.

Antibiotic ointment can be used at birth to protect the newborn from a Chlamydial eye infection. Chlamydia can also cause pneumonia in newborns and pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in the mother.

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea can cause eye infection, blindness and serious infections in a baby delivered through the birth canal of a woman with an infection. It can also lead to preterm birth and cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) in the mother.

Gonorrhea infection can be treated with antibiotics.

As a precaution, if you have tested positive for gonorrhea your health care provider may put antibiotic ointment in your baby’s eyes when it is born.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B is a viral infection of the liver. It can cause damage to the liver in the mother and can infect the baby if it is not treated within an hour of birth.

A newborn which is born to an infected mother will be given immune globulin after delivery and possibly a hepatitis vaccine.

Herpes

Herpes is a viral sexually transmitted disease. A serious herpes outbreak during early pregnancy may cause miscarriage. There is a greater risk to the fetus when herpes virus is contracted during pregnancy.

Women who have active herpes lesions when labor begins will usually have a caesarian birth in order to prevent transmission of the virus to the newborn.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

HIV infection is dangerous for mother and baby alike during pregnancy. Pregnancy may speed up the disease in the mother, and 20 to 65 percent of babies born to HIV positive mothers will acquire the infection within the first 6 months of life.

Treatment of the mother with antiviral drugs during pregnancy reduces the chance of the virus being passed on to the baby. Caesarian delivery further reduces the risk of transmitting the disease to the baby.

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)

HPV is a virus that causes genital warts. If the mother has HPV and the warts are severe, they may obstruct the vagina and complicate the birth. Chances of transmission to the baby are low. It is possible for the baby to contract the virus in the birth canal.

Rarely, HPV can cause warts to develop in the baby’s throat. These warts may need to be removed with laser surgery and generally recur. If untreated, they may block the baby’s air passages.

Syphilis

Syphilis can cause birth defects and miscarriage. It is treatable with antibiotics. This disease can be transmitted to the baby in the womb or in the birth canal.

Trichomoniasis or Trich

Trichomoniasis does not usually cause any serious illnesses, but can cause preterm birth. It is treatable with medication.




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