Sexually transmitted diseases are common among women. In non-pregnant women, it may pose a major health concern. But for pregnant women, STDs can be a bother not only to the mother but to the unborn baby. So, how does STD affect pregnant women? This question will be answered as you keep reading. Again, actions you can take should you be diagnosed with an STD and carrying a child or planning to get pregnant will be discussed.
Do I need an STD check in pregnancy?
As mentioned, both mother and baby may not be safe if there is any trace of an STD. This is why it becomes very important that you get an STD screening should you be pregnant or make plans to get pregnant. The sooner a sexually transmitted disease is identified, the better and more effective the care a pregnant mother and baby will receive.
Should it be that in early pregnancy, STD screening is not included as a standard practice, the recommendation is that you get tested for STD on time, especially in a case where you got pregnant from a new sexual encounter. You may visit your nearest private sexual health clinic to get screened for STDs.
What STDs are pregnant women tested for?
There are so many sexually transmitted diseases that can be contracted in or before pregnancy. A lot of sexual healthcare providers will screen for a wide range of STDs – this is a standard procedure. And it is done through a swab or blood test. The following STDs are screened for:
- Hepatitis B
- Hepatitis C
Please note that should you have been exposed to other sexually transmitted diseases not screened for, don’t hesitate to inform the doctor. This will allow for effective treatment and, as much as possible lower any chance of pregnancy complication it may carry.
Sometimes, women make the mistake of not telling their healthcare provider exactly what their sexual health condition is. The danger of doing this is that the disease may likely spread to the baby in the womb.
That said, it is advised that you let it all out when it comes to your sexual health as a woman, especially when you are being screened. Do share even the simplest exposure encounter with your doctor. You never can tell how risky a simple kiss on the mouth or genital can be.
What risks do STDs pose during pregnancy?
Being infected alone is quite stressful not to talk of knowing that you and your baby are carrying the same disease. Sexually transmitted diseases can have a chronic impact on pregnant women and their babies. There are cases where newborns are diagnosed with STDs. But there are other cases where the disease may be unnoticed at birth only to show up after some months or years.
The following are the complications of STDs during pregnancy:
The STD has been passed on to the baby:
Some sexually transmitted diseases can spread from mother to child at birth through vaginal delivery. Again, via breastfeeding, babies can contract the disease from infected mothers.
Premature birth or low birth weight:
Sometimes, women give birth to babies prematurely, or the newborn may weigh less than the standard weight upon birth. This is due to the presence of STDs like syphilis, gonorrhoea, hepatitis C and chlamydia.
Just like the case of premature birth, certain STDs are also associated with stillbirth. These infectious diseases can also cause the death of a baby a few hours after birth, though it is very uncommon.
Another complication of STDs during pregnancy is the development of different infections in babies. This includes pneumatic, blood infection, eye infection and many more.
Blindness, deafness and brain damage:
It is also possible for a child whose mother is infected with an STD to develop different severe health conditions like deafness. Some babies even go blind. Others may develop brain problems.
Serious liver disease:
This is peculiar to hepatitis C. Newborns can begin to have severe liver problems when their mother is carrying a sexually transmitted disease.
Having known how much danger a baby can be in when a pregnant mother is infected with STD, it would make sense that you don’t keep quiet if you think you have been exposed to a sexually transmitted disease.
Is there treatment for STDs in pregnancy?
The type of infection is considered when it comes to treating a pregnancy-related STD. But for STDs like BV, syphilis, chlamydia, trichomoniasis and gonorrhoea, treatment and cure are possible using pregnancy-friendly antibiotics.
Note that some STDs have no cure. This includes viral infections like HIV, hepatitis B, or genital herpes. But with antiviral medications, these infectious diseases can be treated and managed so much so that it doesn’t spread to the baby.
What does this mean for you?
Sexual health is very crucial to general well-being. Women should take care of their sexual health as much as possible whether or not they are trying to conceive. But if you are planning to have a child, then it is very important that you be careful about sexual activities, lifestyle and habits.
Visit your sexual healthcare provider regularly to know if you have contracted an infection. Certain STDs do not show up immediately after contraction – they appear after several months. This is why regular STD testing is recommended, so you don’t wake up one day to the rude shock that you’ve been infected.
Get an STD screening
You can get a full range of STD screening when you visit your nearest private sexual health clinic. At our clinic, we offer private screening to diagnose definite infectious diseases. We also offer profile tests that identify a number of common sexually transmitted diseases. This type of screening is suitable for you if you’re planning to get pregnant and need to be certain you’ve got no infection. Your health and that of your baby matter.
You can call 020 3475 1653 to schedule an appointment with us today for more information about your sexual health.