Prevent STD During Pregnancy
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Danger of STDs during pregnancy

There are a number of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that can lead to infertility or affect your health or your baby’s health during pregnancy.

The results of an STD can be more serious, even life-threatening, for you and your baby if you become infected while pregnant.

In a pregnant woman, these diseases can lead to a miscarriage or infect the baby before or during delivery.

The baby may then have serious health issues such as infections of the eye, joints, or blood; blindness; or breathing problems.

Some of these problems are life-threatening. The woman's health is also endangered by an STD.

All women in the United States should be tested for STDs before planning a pregnancy and early in their prenatal care, such as during their first prenatal visit.

Most of the problems caused by STDs during pregnancy can be prevented if you receive timely and regular medical care during pregnancy.

Risk of Getting an STD/STI

If a woman is younger than 25 years old, engages in high-risk activities during her pregnancy such as unprotected sexual contact, or is otherwise at risk, retesting for STDs later in the pregnancy is advised.

I’m pregnant. Can I get an STD?

Yes, you can. Women who are pregnant can become infected with the same STDs as women who are not pregnant.

Many STDs are ‘silent,’ or have no symptoms, so you may not know if you are infected since healthcare practitioners do not routinely screen for STDs.

Chlamydia and gonorrhea often go undiagnosed because many people who have these STIs don’t have any symptoms. Both infections can damage the Fallopian tubes and lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause infertility.

How STDs/STI/s are transmitted

Sex isn't the only way some of these infections are transmitted.

You can also become infected with the hepatitis B virus – which can survive outside the body for at least a week—from contact with contaminated needles or other sharp instruments, contact with the blood or open sores of an infected person, or even by sharing household items like a toothbrush or razor.

Should I get tested for STD if I am pregnant?

Testing and treating pregnant women for STDs is a vital way to prevent serious health complications to both mother and baby that may otherwise happen with infection.

Even if you have been tested for an STD in the past, testing again during pregnancy is important. It's possible to have an STD and not have any symptoms.

The sooner you begin receiving medical care during pregnancy, the better the health outcomes will be for you and your unborn baby.

Screening for STDs/STIs, such as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), hepatitis B, chlamydia and syphilis, generally takes place at the first prenatal visit for all pregnant women.

Gonorrhea and hepatitis C screening tests are recommended at least once during pregnancy for women at high risk of these infections.

The most common STDs/STIs during pregnancy

Gonorrhea, chlamydia, hepatitis B, C and syphilis are three common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) caused by bacterial infections and are the most common during pregnant women.

How to reduce the risk STD while pregnant?

The only way to avoid STDs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex.

If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting chlamydia:

  • Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results;
  • Using latex condoms the right way every time you have sex.

Please remember that your due date is only an estimate. On average only 5% of births take place exactly on the estimated due date. Most are born within a week either side of the estimated due date.
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