Planning for a baby at any age can be both exciting and overwhelming. But, once you’ve decided to take that big step, you need to be extra careful when it comes to both you and your little one’s health. Neglecting your health during this delicate phase can result in certain life-threatening mishaps, one of them being infected with Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). Screening for STIs such as trichomoniasis, chlamydia and gonorrhea during pregnancy is therefore a recommended step in a few countries.1,2
More than a million STIs are acquired worldwide, out of which chlamydia and gonorrhea can result in serious health complications during pregnancy. Some risks associated with developing these infections during pregnancy include abortion, stillbirth (loss of a baby), low birth weight or preterm delivery. Keep reading to know more.2,3
An Overview On Chlamydia And Gonorrhea During Pregnancy
What Is Chlamydia And Gonorrhea?
Chlamydia and gonorrhea are Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) caused by an infection with Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterium respectively. They are usually contracted through anal, vaginal, and oral intercourse with an infected person.4,5
How Do They Spread?
Both chlamydia and gonorrhea can be transmitted through unprotected physical contact during vaginal, anal or oral intercourse. However, the presence of semen is not necessary for the infection to spread.4,5
People treated for chlamydia and gonorrhea can get reinfected if they come in physical contact with an infected person. Expectant mothers can also pass on the infection to their babies during childbirth.4,5
What Are The Symptoms Of Chlamydia And Gonorrhea In Women?
Untreated STDs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea may also cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) - an infection of a woman’s reproductive system. If not treated in time, PID may cause complications such as:6
- Ectopic pregnancy (when a pregnancy grows outside a uterus)
- Chronic abdominal pain
Next, let’s understand how chlamydia and gonorrhea can affect you and your little one’s health…
Effect Of Chlamydia And Gonorrhea During Pregnancy
As discussed earlier, if you’re pregnant, and have developed a chlamydia or gonorrhea infection, then your baby could be at an increased risk of complications like low birth weight and premature birth.7
During your childbirth, there is also a high chance for these infections to pass onto your baby through the birth canal. However, only a few health problems caused due to these infections may be seen earlier in the baby, while others may not be seen until a few months or years later.3,7
In the upcoming section, let us see those health problems and the measures you can take to secure your little one.
How Can They Affect Your Baby?
STDs such as chlamydia and gonorrhea during pregnancy may pose serious risks to the baby! Let’s see what they are:
Effects Of Chlamydia4
- Preterm delivery
- Conjunctivitis (eye disease)
- Pneumonia (an infection affecting lungs)
Effects Of Gonorrhea5
- Joint infection
- Blood infection
How Can You Protect Your Baby?
As chlamydia and gonorrhea during pregnancy can affect the baby, being tested for such infections is a critical component of prenatal care. One of the best ways to safeguard your baby from these infections is to get screened early in the pregnancy as well as when you are nearing your due date.7
Here are some screening recommendations for expectant mothers by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):7
Can Chlamydia And Gonorrhea During Pregnancy Be Treated?
Early diagnosis and treatment can help cure chlamydia and gonorrhea. They can be treated by pregnancy-safe antibiotics prescribed by your doctor. In some cases, antibiotics may be advised to reduce the risk of spreading the infection to your baby.7
Coming to the prevention of STDs, such infections can be avoided by abstaining from oral, anal or vaginal intercourse. Using condoms consistently is another way to reduce the transmission of chlamydia and gonorrhea during pregnancy.7
Getting screened for chlamydia and gonorrhea during pregnancy will ensure the infection (if present) is treated sooner and will help prevent associated complications to a great extent.
So, are you wondering how and where to get yourself tested?
You might have come across many tests to diagnose chlamydia and gonorrhea infections. But, among those, LifeCell’s chlamydia and gonorrhea test kit is one easy way to get started! The best part about this test is that you don’t need to get out of your comfort zone - home to get tested. All you need to do is simply order your kit online.
A Gentle Reminder:
Infections during pregnancy take time to resolve and do not always go away in a jiffy.
So have patience and don’t miss out on your prenatal visits.