What Every Woman Should Know About Pregnancy When They Have an STD

Sexually-transmitted diseases (STDs) are very common in the United States. In fact, the CDC estimates about 20 million new infections are diagnosed each year, and experts say that’s just a small fraction of the actual cases that occur.

If those numbers sound scary, keep in mind that STDs are treatable, and many are completely curable. But if they occur during pregnancy, an STD can cause a host of complications you may not be aware of — complications that can affect both you and your baby.

Women's Pavilion of the Palm Beaches is a leading obstetrics and gynecology practice in Greenacres, Florida, providing advanced care for STDs in pregnant and non-pregnant women alike. 

As a fellow of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), Leroy Charles, MD, is skilled in helping pregnant women and their unborn children stay healthy during pregnancy and delivery. Here’s how he can help you.

STDs and pregnancy

STDs typically cause at least some unpleasant symptoms, no matter when they occur. But during pregnancy, even a “minor” STD can cause major problems for your baby and for you.

Some infections, like HIV, gonorrhea, and hepatitis B and C, can pass from you to your baby, either during pregnancy or during delivery. In addition, STDs are linked with:

For your baby specifically, an untreated STD can cause:

Some complications develop during pregnancy, while others are more likely to occur during delivery or even during breastfeeding.

Preventing STD complications

Obviously, getting tested prior to pregnancy is the best option. But for a lot of women, that just doesn’t happen. 

If you’re pregnant, getting tested for STDs early in the pregnancy is very important. Early diagnosis means you can begin treatment for your STD — treatment that can dramatically reduce the risks for you and for your baby.

Depending on the STD that’s present, many complications may be prevented with antibiotics or other medications taken during pregnancy or given to the infant shortly after birth. 

Importantly, knowing that an STD is present can help you and Dr. Charles take special steps during delivery to reduce the risk of complications. In some infections, that might mean choosing a cesarean section over a vaginal birth.

Optimal care for you and your baby

If you’re pregnant and you have an STD, getting proper care is essential for avoiding potentially serious complications. Even if you don’t think you have an STD — or you’re not sure if you do — having STD testing in the early stages of pregnancy is an important part of helping ensure you and your baby stay healthy all the way through delivery. 

STD testing is simple and straightforward. To schedule a test or to book an evaluation with Dr. Charles, call the office or book online today.

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