Dealing with Sexually Transmitted Diseases during Pregnancy

By: James Pendergraft

One of the risks that people take during sexual intercourse is the possibility of contracting a sexually transmitted disease or STD. The consequences of acquiring one are even greater during pregnancy because the condition can severely affect the health of both the mother and her baby. Moreover, contracting such diseases during pregnancy may result to long-term effects on the health of the baby.

Sexually transmitted diseases are one of the leading complications during pregnancy. The infection affects approximately two million women during their pregnancy. This is because getting pregnant offers no fail-safe protection from acquiring the disease, and a woman who is pregnant is as vulnerable as any other woman active in sexual activities. If sexually transmitted diseases are dangerous enough for a woman who is not pregnant, the risks multiply even more for a pregnant woman.

Why STDs are More Dangerous during Pregnancy

Sexually transmitted diseases that are acquired during pregnancy are potentially life threatening. This is because a pregnant woman’s health is very fragile. She must learn how to protect herself and her baby from infection.

The following are the common consequences when contracting sexually transmitted diseases during pregnancy:

1) Cervical cancer and other infections in the reproductive system

2) Chronic hepatitis

3) Cirrhosis

4) Early onset of labor

5) Uterine infection

Premature rupture of the uterine membranes that surround the baby

Once a pregnant woman learns that she is infected with sexually transmitted diseases, the first thing that she needs to do is to seek medical treatment right away. However, just like in the case of sexually transmitted diseases affecting non-pregnant women, detection of the disease is difficult. Often, it is only detected when it is already in its advanced stages. Detection at an earlier stage is often difficult and is a very critical element towards proper treatment.

What is even more dangerous with sexually transmitted diseases acquired during pregnancy is the possibility of the transmitting the disease or causing an infection to the infant. For example, syphilis is known to cross the placenta and cause fetal infection, which may affect the development of the baby. Aside from syphilis, other sexually transmitted diseases that can be transmitted to the infant are HIV and genital herpes.

Once infection is passed on to the infant, there are many consequences that will result such as cirrhosis, liver disease, meningitis, hepatitis, blindness or deafness, neonatal sepsis, brain damage, pneumonia, conjunctivitis, low birth weight, and stillbirth.

The Best Treatment for Sexually Transmitted Diseases during Pregnancy

Medical experts suggest that the best way to protect one from sexually transmitted diseases is through a monogamous relationship. This is because any medication taken by a pregnant woman has to be considered against the possible risks, especially towards the health of the baby. Fortunately, there are antibiotics that are safe for pregnant women and can cure some sexually transmitted diseases. However, some STDs such as HIV and genital herpes are not curable during pregnancy and any medication against them is only to reduce the symptoms.

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