Pregnancy and Sexually Transmitted Diseases
How Can I Find Out If I Have a STD?
At your prenatal visit, your health care provider will screen for a number of STDs. But, if you think you have a STD, tell your provider. He or she can examine you and perform other tests to determine if you have a sexually transmitted disease. Be especially vigilant if you have a new sexual partner during pregnancy.
How Are STDs Treated During Pregnancy?
Treatment of a STD during pregnancy depends on how far the infection has progressed and how far along you are in your pregnancy. Many bacterial STDs like syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia are treated with antibiotics given as a shot or taken by mouth. Below are common treatments for STDs in pregnant women and newborns:
- HIV/AIDS: Although an incurable disease, you can prevent transmitting the virus to your baby by taking several medications.
- Herpes: Your doctor can prescribe antiviral pills to treat these lesions. Women with active herpes lesions at delivery will likely have a cesarean section to prevent transmitting the infection to the baby.
- Gonorrhea: Pregnant women with the infection can be treated with antibiotics. Because gonorrhea is often without symptoms, all newborn babies are given medications in their eyes at birth to prevent development of the gonorrhea eye infection.
- HPV (Genital Warts): If you contract genital warts during pregnancy, treatment may be delayed until after you deliver.
- Chlamydia: Mothers with chlamydia are treated with antibiotics. The drug used on all newborns to prevent a gonorrhea eye infection also prevents chlamydia from infecting the eye, but it can't prevent the pneumonia that may develop later.
- Syphilis: Your doctor will prescribe antibiotics during your pregnancy to decrease risk of transmitting the infection to your baby and stop the syphilis from progressing in you.
- Hepatitis B: If you have hepatitis B, your doctor will give your newborn an injection of antibodies to prevent him or her from becoming infected.
- Trichomoniasis: Pregnant women can be treated with medication to cure the infection.
If you are given an antibiotic to treat a STD, it's important that you take all of your medicine, even if the symptoms go away. Also, never take someone else's medicine to treat your illness. By doing so, you may make it more difficult to treat the infection. Likewise, you should not share your medicine with others.