STIs and Pregnancy
STIs in pregnancy
Most STIs can be treated during pregnancy, and some can cause serious complications, so it’s worth being tested early on. Some STIs can be riskier the later you get them in your pregnancy, so always use a condom or femidom and if you think you’ve been put at risk, get tested at the beginning of your last trimester or when you give up working.
If you have bacterial vaginosis, you are at a greater risk of premature rupture of the membranes, preterm delivery and having a low birth weight baby.
You may be tested for Chlamydia as part of your antenatal care. It can be safely treated with antibiotics while you’re pregnant. If it’s not treated, there may be links between Chlamydia and early miscarriage or premature birth. It can be passed to the baby during birth or, more rarely, during pregnancy, where it can cause serious eye infections and infant pneumonia.
The herpes virus can cause problems if you catch it for the first time while you’re pregnant. If you had, or have had genital herpes before you got pregnant, the risk is very low, as your baby will develop antibodies to it that will protect it during birth and for months afterwards. If you get genital herpes in the first two trimesters, the risk of passing it on is slightly increased, and you may be offered anti-viral medications. If you get genital herpes in the late stages of pregnancy, the risk is much higher, as your baby will not havehad time to develop antibodies. You will need to take anti-viral medications for the last four weeks of pregnancy, and you may be offered a caesarean delivery if you have blisters and ulcers at the time of birth.
Genital warts can be passed during birth to the baby, but this is rare.
Gonorrhoea can be passed to the baby during birth, and it can cause serious eye infections which can lead to blindness if not treated with antibiotics immediately.
Hepatitis B can be passed to the baby during pregnancy. If you haven’t been vaccinated for Hepatitis B and think you may be at risk, you can be vaccinated while you’re pregnant.
4% of pregnant women with Hepatitis C will pass it to their baby – but this goes up to 19% if the mother has both HIV and Hepatitis C.
HIV can be passed to the baby during pregnancy, birth or breast-feeding, but the risk can be reduced by medication during the pregnancy and having a caesarean birth.
Pubic lice pose no problems for your pregnancy, but you should see your doctor to be prescribed treatment that’s safe.
Like pubic lice, scabies isn’t dangerous for your baby, but you should see your doctor to get a prescription for something that you can safely use while you’re pregnant.
All pregnant women are tested for syphilis in the second trimester, and it can be treated with antibiotics while you’re pregnant. Syphilis can be passed to the baby during pregnancy – this is known as congenital syphilis – and it can cause serious birth defects, miscarriage and stillbirth.
Thrush doesn’t cause any complications in pregnancy (and is actually quite common during the third trimester) but it can be passed to your baby at birth. This can then lead to nipple thrush if you’re breastfeeding. Thrush can be treated very easily.
Trichomonas can be treated while you’re pregnant, although the treatment option is not quite as effective at clearing the infection. Trichomonas can be passed to the baby during pregnancy, and can cause complications like low birth weight and premature birth.
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