The Ultimate Guide to Deal with STDs During Pregnancy
Now and then, we hear a lot many horror stories of pregnant moms with STDs giving birth to a baby with issues in their reproductive system. The last thing you would want is a newborn baby with a disorder of any kind.
Therefore, it is only natural that you decide to go beyond your limits to ensure a safer pregnancy. And how do you do that? The answer is – by getting a full STD test before conceiving.
This guide aims to help you navigate the journey of pregnancy and STD management. Keep on reading to learn things in detail.
Should You Get Tested for STDs Before Pregnancy?
According to experts, STDs can cause complications during pregnancy, putting both lives in danger. The complications may include miscarriage, the transmission of infection, low birth weight, and preterm labour, among others.
You want to take some precautionary measures to keep complications at bay. This is why, doctors, these days, suggest taking an STD test before conceiving. Doing the test firsthand means you get the treatment as early as possible without being a potential risk to the baby in the womb.
Why Take an STD Test Before Pregnancy?
STD screening before pregnancy has numerous health benefits for you, your partner, and your baby. They include:
- More effective treatment if taken beforehand
- Peace of mind during pregnancy
- Less stress
- Protection of your general health and fertility
- Improved trust between you and your other half
- Prevention of spreading the infection from the mother to the womb
It is only logical that you and your partner take the test ahead of time. This reduces the odds of symptomless STDs passingon to the baby later.
Do You Need an STD Test Before Starting IVF Treatment?
Of course, you want your unborn baby to be safe and free from complications. This is why you want to visit a sexual health clinic to take an STD test before the IVF treatment commences. STD screenings will help ensure that the IVF treatment is a success. The clinic may need you and your partner to test for HIV, hepatitis B & C, gonorrhoea, and chlamydia before undergoing treatment.
Can You Conceive If You Have an STD?
Certain forms of STDs cause fertility issues if left untreated for a while. Take chlamydia, for example, it can be treated with antibiotics. If left untreated, it can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease or PID. In PID, the reproductive organs get compromised. They may include the cervix, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. This means your chances of getting pregnant become thin.
Gonorrhoea is another form of STD. If tested positive, it can be easily treated. However, it is more likely to cause harm if left unnoticed for a while. The chances of fertilization become less due to the scar tissue in the uterus and fallopian tubes.
STDs That Are Dangerous During Pregnancy
We did all the digging and tried jotting down the most prevalent cases of STDs in pregnancy. Below is the list:
If left untreated early during pregnancy, syphilis can be detrimental to the fetus. It causes an infection, which is associated with stillbirth, miscarriage, premature birth, and even neonatal death. The infection is prone to pass on during pregnancy, or during birth, if the newborn baby comes into contact with infected tissue.
HIV is another dangerous virus that passes onto the baby through the placenta. The infection can also passon during birth and breastfeeding. In infants, symptoms like failure to thrive, severe infections, and meningitis are very common.
For patients who have genital herpes during pregnancy, chances are high that this could pass on to their baby. This condition is what we call neonatal herpes. It can be life-threatening in the worst cases. In other cases, it just affects the baby’s eyes, nose, and mouth.
Untreated chlamydial infections can give rise to a lot many complications during and after pregnancy. It could cause low birth weight and preterm labour. For those who have untreated chlamydia infection during childbirth, it could cause the newborn baby to develop conjunctivitis or pneumonia.
Hepatitis B passes from the mother to the newborn baby during birth. If vaccination is not done, the newborn baby can develop a chronic infection that is Hepatitis B. This causes serious damage to the liver and risks passing the virus on to others. Women with this risk of this infection can develop premature delivery.
This infection passes from the mother to the baby during vaginal delivery. Infections such as vaginitis, scalp infections, serious eye infections, and urethritis can develop in babies. In the worst cases, eye infections can lead to permanent blindness.
What Happens When You Have an STD During Pregnancy?
As mentioned above, having an STD during pregnancy can cause several health issues, especially if the infection goes unnoticed. Patients who test positive for an STD should contact their GP to ensure a quick recovery.
A GP will give you the correct advice on medication or treatment that is suitable for your case. If everything goes right, the infection should be cleared once the course of medication is over.
If it is not possible for you to treat the STI during pregnancy, or the infection is incurable, your GP will take the necessary steps to ensure a safe pregnancy and birth. Alternative birth methods (a cesarean section) or taking medication to minimize the risk of spread to the baby (antiviral medication) are suitable, in those cases.
Can You Have a Baby with an STD?
Those who have an incurable STI (herpes or HIV) can still have a baby, considering they take the necessary precautions to protect the unborn baby from infection. The risk of passing on the infection to the baby would not be zero. However, alternative birth methods and medication are suitable to reduce the risk of transmission.
If you have an STD that is treatable, we would recommend getting advice from your doctor on the next best steps to take to treat the infection. Some infections like chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhoea can be treated and cured with medications that are safe to take during pregnancy. The Ultimate Guide to Deal with STDs During Pregnancy.
If you need a private STD test in London or call on 02 34751653 to book an appointment today!