With 31% of women admitting to never having had an STD check, and 37% not ever speaking to their partners about STDs or protection, it’s safe to say we aren’t talking about STDs as much as we should. STD’s can be dangerous for anyone but, if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, there’s a chance that any STD you may have will negatively affect your baby in some way.
It’s a myth that pregnant women can’t catch STDs: they 100% can in exactly the same way as women who aren’t pregnant can. So, for the sake of both your health and your baby’s, it’s essential to take the possibility of having an STD seriously and learn the facts about their effects.
Get checked as soon as possible
Having a full STD test can be scary, but it’s better to be safe than sorry especially if there’s a baby involved. If you have any concerns whatsoever about your sexual health, or even if you’ve been in a stable relationship with the same partner for years, it’s best to cover all bases to be 100% safe and secure of your STD status.
However, some women may be worried about going to their doctor to ask for an STD test, especially if they know their doctor having had the same one for years. This is very common and, if you experience any sort of worry towards going to your local doctor to get checked out, there’s a solution. With over 4000 local STD testing locations, Safer STD Testing offer fully confidential and affordable STD testing clinics without any potential for embarrassment.
Dealing with your results
If you have a full STD screen and come back all clear, you can rest-up safe in the knowledge that your sexual health is fine and there’s no chance of an STD affecting your unborn baby. However, if you have unprotected sex whilst pregnant after your check, it’s important to go back and have another test done just in case.
However, if your check came back with positive results for one or more STDs, it’s vital you learn the facts of what may happen and to process and deal with this information. Both your health and your baby’s has to come first so, whether you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, here’s a run-down of some of today’s most popular STDs and the effects each one may have.
Commonly regarded as the most common STD, it’s estimated that one in 20 sexually active young women have the infection. Chlamydia is sometimes symptomless, with many women only realizing they have it upon getting an STD test.
With regard to pregnancy, chlamydia can increase the chances of premature birth as well as miscarriage, and can even cause pneumonia and eye infections in newborns. However, chlamydia can be cured during pregnancy through antibiotics, and it’s impossible to transmit chlamydia to your baby through breastfeeding.
Perhaps the most deadly STD, there’s a 25% chance of HIV being transmitted to your unborn baby by it passing through the placenta. But if caught early and treated during pregnancy, this chance dramatically decreases to just 2%. It is therefore essential to get tested if you have any suspicions of having HIV, as receiving treatment as early as possible will give your baby the best possible chance of not catching it.
HIV can also be transmitted to the baby through breastmilk so, if you know you’re HIV positive, avoid breastfeeding at all cost.
Like chlamydia, gonorrhea can also result in premature birth or miscarriage. However, unlike chlamydia, gonorrhea can be passed on to your baby during childbirth and can even cause joint and blood infections.
Luckily gonorrhea can be treated with antibiotics during pregnancy so, as long as you’re fully cured by the time you give birth, you won’t run the risk of passing it on to your child. Gonorrhea is also unable to be passed through breastfeeding, so nursing your baby even with this STD is safe.
Due to the amount of potential complications and negative effects STDs can have on both you and your baby, it’s essential to take them seriously and get checked out as soon as you can. Realizing you have an STD as early as possible is crucial for preventative action to be taken to make your pregnancy as healthy as it can be.
Natalie Martin is a freelance writer, and when she is not working on her next article she can usually be found in her garden. She attended the University of Cincinnati before turning to writing, and now spends much of her time drawing attention to some of the major health problems that are plaguing the country today. Natalie resides along the Gulf Coast with her 6 year old Labrador Retriever.