Pregnant with Gonorrhea or Chlamydia

Pregnancy can be scary, especially if you have a history of sexually transmitted diseases. That’s why we, at SelfCollect, are introducing this mini-series about what to do if you’re pregnant and have, or have had, a sexually transmitted disease. Today’s blog topic is on gonorrhea and chlamydia. 

Chlamydia

Chlamydia is one of the more common sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Nearly 2 million Americans have it, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

It is typically asymptomatic, meaning very few people will experience symptoms. If you do, you may have abnormal vaginal discharge, bleeding between periods, a burning sensation or pain when urinating, abdominal or pelvic pain, or pain during intercourse. 

If left untreated, chlamydia can cause Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, chronic pain and infertility. Because symptoms either don’t appear or they are often associated with other diseases or ailments, getting tested is key.

If you have chlamydia, don’t worry. It is easily treated with antibiotics. 

Pregnant with Chlamydia

If you are pregnant and you learn you have chlamydia, it is imperative for you and your baby’s health to be treated immediately. 

The CDC recommends for your doctor to screen for chlamydia during your first prenatal visit. Your doctor should also screen you for the infection in your third trimester of pregnancy, especially if you are at high risk. 

Risk factors include: 

  • New or multiple sex partners

  • Sex partner with concurrent partners

  • Sex partner who has a sexually-transmitted disease (STD)

If you have chlamydia, you should be re-tested 3-4 weeks after treatment, and then re-tested again within three months to ensure the health of your baby is not put at risk. 

If left untreated, the expectant mother can develop pelvic inflammatory disease, which can cause ectopic pregnancies, chronic pelvic pain, and infertility. It can also cause the expectant mother’s water to break prematurely, thus leading to a premature birth. 

If the baby comes into contact with the disease, the baby could develop an eye infection called conjunctivitis, or it could become ill with pneumonia. Chlamydia has also been known to cause low birth weights. 

Thankfully, treatments of chlamydia are completely safe for pregnant mothers and their unborn child. 

Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is fairly widespread — there is an estimated 820,000 new cases every year in the United States. 

Gonorrhea, urinary tract infections, and chlamydia have extremely similar symptoms, so it is impossible to tell which one you have without testing. Gonorrhea symptoms include abnormal vaginal discharge, bleeding between periods, and a burning sensation or pain when urinating. 

The disease is curable with antibiotics, however drug resistant strains have been reported.

If you suspect that your symptoms have continued after treatment, speak with your doctor immediately. 

Pregnant with Gonorrhea

If left untreated, gonorrhea can harm to the baby before birth. It can cause miscarriages and premature birth. 

If you have gonorrhea during delivery, it can be transferred to your newborn child. The disease can cause eye infections that have the risk of leading to blindness if the eye infection is not treated. 

Infants can also develop scalp infections, upper respiratory infections, urethritis, or vaginitis a few days after birth due to gonorrhea. 

Because of these risks, the CDC recommends all pregnant women ask their doctor to screen them for the STD during their first prenatal visual and during the third trimester, especially for women at a high risk for the disease. 

Risk factors include: 

  • Living in a high-morbidity area

  • Previous or coexisting STI

  • New or multiple sex partners

  • Inconsistent condom use among persons not in mutually monogamous relationships

  • Exchanging sex for money or drugs

How Do I Protect Myself And My Child?

If you were worried about passing on an STD to your child, get tested and have your partner get tested before trying to conceive. Once you’re pregnant, practice safe sex to protect your body and the baby. 

When it comes to getting tested, you have numerous options. Your doctor can screen you during a prenatal visit or a routine checkup, or you can do it from your home with our testing kits. 

At SelfCollect, our tests are delivered to your home in a discreet package. You simply take a swab or urine sample (no blood or needles required!) and send it back to us in the provided prepaid packaging. The sample is sent to our CLIA certified, partner laboratory that has 30 years of experience in diagnostic testing.

Everything is confidential and your results can be viewed securely online.

Pregnancy is a wonderful time. Enjoy it and let us at SelfCollect take care of the rest.