Protecting Your Baby from STDs

Chlamydia

About 10 percent of pregnant women have chlamydia. While most of them don't experience symptoms, a small number of women can develop vaginal discharge and a burning sensation during urination. If left untreated, chlamydia can spread to your upper genital tract, resulting in pelvic inflammatory disease, infertility, or an ectopic pregnancy (when the embryo becomes implanted outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube).

A study from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development suggests that pregnant women with chlamydia have an increased risk of delivering prematurely. Those who don't seek treatment for this STD can also face an increased risk of miscarriage and premature rupture of the membranes (bag of waters).

Babies of untreated women usually become infected during vaginal delivery. These children frequently develop eye infections and pneumonia and must be treated with antibiotics.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)recommends that all pregnant women be tested for chlamydia. Your healthcare provider can easily test you for this condition by taking a urine or vaginal fluid sample. Your partner should also be tested for this disease to prevent the possibility of transmitting the virus back and forth during pregnancy. Fortunately, this sexually transmitted disease can be cured with the use of antibiotics, preventing complications for you and your baby.

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