Some sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) can be passed from a mother to her baby during pregnancy, delivery or breastfeeding. If you are pregnant, it is essential that you are tested for STDs to take care of your health and limit the risk of transmission to your baby. Treatment for STDs during pregnancy can reduce or eliminate the risk of your baby getting an STD and developing complications.
How Are STDs Passed from Mother to Baby?
STDs in pregnancy are transmitted from the mother to the baby in two different ways:
- Crossing the placenta- STDs like syphilis can cross through the placenta and infect the baby while still in the womb.
- During delivery- As the baby passes through the birth canal, it can be exposed to the bacteria or virus that causes an STD. Chlamydia, gonorrhea and herpes are examples of STDs that can be passed to a baby during delivery.
Complications of STDs During Pregnancy
Diagnosis and treatment of STDs during pregnancy are crucial for both the health of mom and baby. Pregnancy complications can arise as a result of untreated STDs, including:
- Pre-term labor and delivery
- Low birth weight
In addition, complications that a baby can experience after contracting an STD include:
- Eye infection
- Lung infection
- Blood infection
- Brain damage
- Chronic liver disease or liver cancer
Complications of untreated STDs in women can include:
- Pelvic pain
- Pregnancy complications
- Eye inflammation
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID)
- Heart disease
- Certain cancers, such as HPV-associated cervical and rectal cancers
Untreated STDs during pregnancy and delivery can increase your risk of PID. This long-term complication can cause the following side effects:
- Future ectopic pregnancy
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Abscesses in the reproductive organs
Get Free STD Testing
Prioritize your health and the health of your child by getting tested for STDs during pregnancy. Free STD testing for chlamydia and gonorrhea is available at Alpha Center. Schedule an appointment to take advantage of this free service.