STDs and Pregnancy

The problems associated with hepatitis, aids or herpes and pregnancy

Sexual health and reproductive health are closely related, and a mother's state of health is connected to her unborn child's. In turn, any sexually transmitted disease that goes untreated during pregnancy has the potential to affect the baby in the same way it affects the mother; in some cases, the baby can suffer much more. STDs can go unnoticed for quite a while if they don't present any symptoms, which is another reason to begin a good prenatal care routine with a doctor or midwife from the very beginning. They will be able to screen, diagnose and treat an STD to preserve your health and reduce or eliminate any negative effects on your baby.

Teen STDS and Pregnancy

In America, the number of teens contracting sexually transmitted diseases and becoming pregnant has risen sharply in recent years. For over a decade, the numbers were showing a decline in the cases of teen STDs like syphilis, herpes and Chlamydia as well as the cases of teen pregnancy, but in the past five years or so both trends have reversed. This suggests that unprotected sex is on the rise, which means that there are more young women becoming pregnant and infected with an STD, a phenomenon that can have disastrous effects on mother and baby.

Whatever your age, an STD during pregnancy can threaten the health, growth and life your baby. One key to preventing STDs is to understand the signs and symptoms so they can be treated early. Your doctor will screen for STDs during your first prenatal visit, but if you suspect you may have come into contact with an STD after your prenatal care has begun, it's extremely important to contact your doctor immediately in order to reduce the risk of preterm labor or fetal infection.

How to Handle STDs and Pregnancy

In some cases, treatment for STDs will allow you to have a normal vaginal delivery, but some illnesses pose a considerable risk to you and your baby if you were to give birth naturally. The most severe STDs will dramatically increase your chances of miscarrying or delivering a sickly baby.

One of the most common infections is the herpes virus, and while genital herpes and pregnancy is not necessarily a recipe for disaster, doctors and midwives will choose to deliver via cesarean section if there is a visible skin lesion in order to reduce the risk of passing the infection onto the baby. Hepatitis B and pregnancy is a more serious combination, as this liver disease can be transferred to the unborn baby through the placenta. Although there is a greater chance of preterm delivery, your baby can be treated fairly easily with an injection of antibodies after delivery.

Although STDs during pregnancy is still a widespread problem, the good news is that diseases once considered untreatable are now fairly easily to control. For women who are pregnant with HIV, the outlook is better than ever before: although there's still no cure for the disease, there's a variety of medication that you can take to avoid passing on the virus to your baby. Powerful antibiotics can be given to treat some STDs, while other STD complications may be circumvented by a planned cesarean section. The type, severity and timing of treatment will depend on the particular STD and your doctor's opinion on how best to proceed, but regardless of the disease, your chances for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby are much higher if it's discovered early.