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Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Pregnancy

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STD), also called venereal diseases, are acquired by having sex with someone who is infected. Sometimes your partner does not know he is infected.

Your risk of having a STD is related to:

  • How many partners you have had
  • How many other people with whom your partner has had sex

You may be asked during pregnancy about STDs. It is important to be honest with your practitioner about your risks for STDs. Tests for some diseases are available and may be recommended.

Chlamydia

How Do I Get It? Having sex with an infected person.

Symptoms: Often none; may include vaginal discharge, burning with urination, pelvic pain, fever.

Treatments: Antibiotics (usually pills) are available. Your partner(s) should be tested and treated by his provider.

Effects On Baby: Early labor and delivery, eye infections and pneumonia in babies of untreated mothers.

Prevention: Avoid high-risk sexual behavior. (Ask if you need information.) Tell your provider if you think you may be infected.

Condyloma

How Do I Get It? Having sex with an infected person.

Symptoms: Often none; possibly growths on genitals.

Treatments: No cure is available. May spontaneously disappear after delivery. Discuss with your provider.

Effects On Baby: Rarely causes growths on baby’s genitals or in throat.

Prevention: Avoid high-risk sexual behavior.

Gonorrhea

How Do I Get It? Having sex with an infected person.

Symptoms: Often none; may include vaginal discharge, burning with urination, fever, sore throat, and pelvic pain. If untreated, the infection spreads throughout the body.

Treatments: Antibiotics; your partner(s) should be tested and treated by his provider.

Effects On Baby: Miscarriage, early labor and delivery, eye infections. Avoid high-risk sexual behavior.

Prevention: At delivery, ointment will be placed in the baby’s eyes to prevent infection.

Hepatitis B

How Do I Get It? Contact with body fluids (saliva, semen, blood) of an infected person by mouth, breaks in skin, or through sex, blood transfusion.

Symptoms: Flu-like symptoms; nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, jaundice (yellowing of skin).

Treatments: None; usually resolves spontaneously. Some people always carry the virus and can infect others.

Effects On Baby: Baby may develop hepatitis.

Prevention: Immunization is available. If nonimmune, avoid contact with body fluids of infected person or those who carry the virus. You will be tested to see if you carry the virus. Your provider will discuss the results with you and any recommendations for your pregnancy care.

Herpes

How Do I Get It? Having sex with an infected person.

Symptoms: Usually a painful blister develops. Sometimes no symptoms. Blisters may reoccur.

Treatments: None; resolves spontaneously, may recur anytime.

Effects On Baby: Severe brain damage, possibly death may occur in rare instances.

Prevention: Avoid high-risk sexual behavior. If you enter labor when herpes is active, a cesarean section may be recommended to hopefully prevent infection of your baby.

HIV (AIDS)

How Do I Get It? Having sex with an infected person; injecting needles that are HIV infected; rarely by receiving HIV infected blood transfusion.

Symptoms: Often no symptoms for many years; may have flu-like symptoms, recurrent fevers, swollen glands, weight loss, fatigue, diarrhea.

Treatments: No cure: however, treatment is available that may decrease risk of transmission to baby, and help you fight AIDS-related diseases.

Effects On Baby: HIV can be passed to the baby during pregnancy or while breastfeeding.

Prevention: Avoid high risk behavior. (Ask if you need information.) Tell your provider if you would like to be tested for HIV.

Syphilis

How Do I Get It? Having sex with an infected person.

Symptoms: Vary according to how long infection has been present; first a painless ulcer forms; this heals by itself, but the infection remains; later flu-like symptoms and rash may appear.

Treatments: Antibiotics; your partner(s) should be tested and treated by his provider.

Effects On Baby: Stillborn baby before delivery; infants may have skin lesions, enlarged liver, jaundice, bone deformities.

Prevention: Avoid high-risk sexual behavior.