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STDs during pregnancy

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A pre-existing STD or a newly acquired STD during pregnancy is not only harmful for the mother but also for her baby. The strategy is either to get rid of STD completely before conceiving or screen yourself for STD to get the best possible treatment at the earliest.

We shall explain you the impact of STD during pregnancy.

How can STDS affect you and your baby?

HIV/AIDS: Though transmission of the virus to the baby can be prevented completely, nevertheless the baby can acquire HIV infection if the virus is passed on through the placenta. It can be fatal for pregnant mothers if they develop AIDS.

Gonorrhea: Untreated gonorrhoea leads to ectopic pregnancies, premature delivery and inflammatory pelvic disease. It could be a stillbirth or the baby might acquire serious eye disease and blood infection

Herpes: Neonatal herpes is a common consequence of herpes infection during pregnancy. The infection is contracted during delivery. Serious infection in the initial period can also lead to miscarriage.  

Hepatitis B: Pregnant mothers may suffer from liver damage when the infection is severe and she might have premature delivery. The virus gets easily transferred to the baby through placenta and the baby is born with hepatitis B.

HPV or genital warts: If warts develop in birth canal, then they can complicate delivery. The treatment may be possible only after delivery.

The virus can affect the baby, leading to development of warts in his/her throat.

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Bacterial vaginosis: Women are at increased risk of preterm birth on having bacterial vaginosis. Miscarriage can happen during second trimester. The baby may be born underweight.

Syphilis: The baby can contract the infection very easily and in many cases, it has been fatal. Numerous cases of stillbirth and miscarriages have been reported in pregnant mothers with syphilis. Babies with congenital syphilis are born with mental problems and disorders in other organs like eyes, teeth, heart, etc.

Chlamydia: More often chalmydia infection during pregnancy leads to ectopic pregnancies and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). The baby can be born blind or may have serious eye infection and pneumonia. 

What are common symptoms of STD?

If you are suffering from STD then you will be experiencing:
  • Pain and burning while urinating 
  • Rashes, bumps, sores, warts on skin, mouth and genitals
  • Burning and itching in vagina
  • Fever, body ache, chills
  • Yellowing of (in case of hepatitis)
  • Foul smelling discharge of unnatural colour from the vagina

How to find out if you are having STD during pregnancy?

You will be experiencing those symptoms after acquiring the infection through some source; so report immediately to your doctor. However, screening test for STDs is usually suggested to pregnant mothers during first prenatal visit.

You will be tested again during the third trimester or before when at high risk. Make sure you let your doctor know about a history or recent instance of exposure to STI.

Can STDS be treated during pregnancy?

Non viral STDs are treated with antibiotics and viral STDs are cured with anti-viral medications. Anti-retroviral drugs are given for HIV infections.

The dosage and the duration of treatment depend on the nature and severity of the infection.

How to protect yourself from having STD during pregnancy?
  • Check with your doctor and get yourself vaccinated against the specific infection.
  • Listen to what your doctor advises on sexual practises. Avoid high risk sexual practises.
  • Inculcate good habits for personal hygiene.

It’s advised to get yourself treated when you are infected with STD before conceiving in order to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy.

Written by: healthplus24.com, team
Date last updated: February 15, 2014

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