When you find out you are pregnant, you are likely to be concerned about the health and well-being of the fetus. Furthermore, if you are concerned that your sexual health will have an impact on the survival of the fetus, the first measure is to avoid contracting an STD.
STDs can be easily transmitted to a fetus if the mother has an STD that has not been treated before pregnancy or if she happens to contract one during pregnancy. It can have serious consequences on the newborn after birth. Hence, consider getting checked out regularly to ensure that you are at the peak of your health for the sake of your baby.
Here is an STD testing guide to help you gain awareness about STDs especially if you are an expecting mother.
How do STDs affect fetuses?
Women under the age of 25, as well as those who have had many partners with an STI history, are more likely to get infected while pregnant. Sexually transmitted infections (STDs) can be fatal to both the mother and the child. Women with STIs that have been left untreated for a long time can have it for the entirety of their life. They run the risk of contaminating every child they have. STDs are caused by dangerous pathogens (viruses, bacteria, or parasites) that can pass on to a baby via the birth canal.
Although fetuses are capable of recovering from these infections soon after birth, some cases can turn out to be deadly. Certain venereal diseases like Syphilis and HIV can infertility in women and have a lasting effect on their immunity and the organs of their unborn children. Furthermore, it can also be life-threatening for both the mother and the child.
How to treat STDs during pregnancy?
The first step to protecting your fetus is protecting your own health. If the pregnant mother is in danger of harboring the infection for an extended period of time, the growing child is also at risk. The kind of STDs carried by the mother influences the complete healing of the illness. Some viruses, such as HIV, HSV, and HBV, cannot be cured and must be suppressed with antiviral medications to prevent the fetus from contracting them.
STIs like Chlamydia, Syphilis, Trichomoniasis, Gonorrhoea, and Bacterial Vaginosis, are treatable and curable with antibiotic vaccinations and tablets. As a result, getting STD tests throughout the initial months of pregnancy is the simplest way to safeguard the health of both the mother and the child.
STD tests for women who are expecting
Talk to your obstetrician about your sexual life including how many sexual partners you have, and if any of them had a history of STDs. Your obstetrician would suggest you get several STD testing before proceeding with your therapy. They may include:-
HPV (Human Papillomavirus), is known to cause cervical cancer in women who are infected. It can also wreak havoc on the immune system of the unborn fetus. An HPV test involves a pap smear which requires blood work with the agreement of the individual taking the test.
Living with HIV is a curse you don’t want to pass down to your child if you contract it. It can also be transmitted via the birth canal or breastfeeding. This is why an HIV test is a mandatory procedure for pregnant women to prevent the baby from contracting this disease before or after they are born.
Hepatitis is another life-threatening STD for fetuses and has been known to cause liver infection or cancer. It is a mandate for expecting mothers to undergo this STD test.
Congenital Syphilis can lead to organ damage and in some cases, even the death of the baby. This is a mandatory test that pregnant women need to undergo along with HIV and Hepatitis tests.
Gonorrhea and Chlamydia tests
During pregnancy, it is a basic protocol for obstetricians to prescribe Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia testing. Chlamydia is known as the silent killer because it can cause lifelong eye and lung damage in newborns. Gonorrhoea, on the other hand, can result in preterm delivery or membrane injury, as well as Chorioamnionitis in mom
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