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How Can STDs Affect Your Pregnancy?
How Can STDs affect your Pregnancy?
Becoming pregnant is an amazing time for a woman. You will be happy and excited about the baby, and you will want the both of you to be healthy and safe. However, to maintain a healthy baby during your pregnancy, there are things you will need to be aware of and precautions you should take. One of the things that can cause serious issues while pregnant is STDs, otherwise known as Sexually Transmitted Diseases. Although you may think that you are safe, it is always better to be sure. That is why you need to be aware of your sexual health for the benefit of you and your unborn baby.
Can You Get an STD While Pregnant?
Women who are pregnant are at the same risks at those women who are not pregnant. Being pregnant offers no additional protection, so it is very important that you try to avoid any possible risk of becoming infected with an STD. When you become pregnant, it is vital that you seek a screening for an STD from your doctor. It will ensure that you are not infected with any STD’s that could harm you or your baby. Also, if you find that you are suffering from any unknown symptoms you get yourself checked.
How Can STDs Affect My Baby and Me?
Becoming infected with an STD can be serious for you and your unborn baby. The main problem is that many STDs are not visible or cause any symptoms, so the woman may not even know there is a problem. The STD can cause complications to the woman, and also the unborn baby. These are problems that can lay undetected for months or even years after your baby is born. That is why it is good to get yourself checked when you become pregnant.
How Can I Get Checked?
There are a number of companies now that offer safer STD testing in a private and confidential service that can check for STDs. They are a good way to get tested and discover the results quickly and in confidence. If you discover that you do have an infection, then you can seek medical advice.
Can STDs be Treated While Pregnant?
In some cases, STDs can be treated while you are pregnant. Infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomonas, and BV can be treated successfully with antibiotics that are safe during pregnancy. However, other infections such as hepatitis B, genital herpes, and HIV cannot be cured, but there are antiviral drugs that can be given to reduce the risk of infection to your baby. Also, some infections can be passed to the baby during delivery. In these cases, it is important for the delivery to be monitored and the baby to receive treatment as soon after the delivery as possible.
What are the Risks from STDs to the Baby?
The risks and severity of the STDs vary according to the type of infection. For example, less than 0.1 percent of babies contract herpes, however, the earlier you seek advice, the better it is for the baby. With Bacterial Vaginosis or BV, there is an imbalance of the bacteria in the vagina. It can cause premature labor if not found early enough, which is why it is important to be checked for STDs before or after you become pregnant.
Chlamydia is caused by a bacterium that can spread to the uterus and the fallopian tubes if it is left untreated. There is also a chance that it could cause pneumonia to develop in your baby after delivery. Antibiotics can effectively cure the bacteria, and your doctor will test you again in the third trimester to make sure there is no further infection.
The infection Trichomonas is caused by a small parasite. Around 80,000 women are thought to be affected each year in the US. If you have this infection while pregnant, then it can cause premature rupturing of the membranes. The infection can be treated with Flagyl, and both you and your partner need to be treated. Symptoms are not usually found in men who are infected, so it is important that they get treatment in any case.
One of the most common STDs in the US is the Human Papillomavirus or HPV. It is a group of viruses that make up about 100 strains. Thirty of these are sexually transmittable and can infect any sexually active area of the body.
Syphilis can be hard to detect because the sore is usually inside the vagina and is often painless. Only testing of the sore or a blood test will determine if you have syphilis. It can cause early birth or miscarriage, so it is vital that you get yourself checked as soon as you know you are pregnant.
Probably one of the most serious infections for mother and baby is HIV or Human Immunodeficiency Virus. It can be passed to the baby during pregnancy and delivery, however, sometimes a cesarean section will be performed to prevent spread. Without treatment, there is a 25% chance that the virus will pass to the baby. Doctors can give anti-viral medications to the mother to reduce the symptoms and lessen the chances of the virus transferring. The baby will also be given the anti-viral treatment for the first six weeks of their life.
Prevention is better than Cure
The best way to prevent such infections is to be careful when you are with sexual partners. Ideally, you should both make sure you are safe before starting the relationship. However, this is not always easy to do. If you are unsure, then you should always insist on the man wearing protection. Although it isn’t as safe and abstaining, it is a lot safer than no protection at all.
If you ensure that you get tested as soon as possible, then there should be no risk to you or the baby, you can then have a straightforward pregnancy and delivery and have a healthy baby.