Just Because You’re Pregnant Doesn’t Mean You Have A ‘Get Out Of Chlamydia Free’ Card
Sexual fidelity and committed partnerships might be assumed when seeing a pregnant woman, but the numbers tell a different story — at least as far as STDs go. Without peeking too closely into the bedrooms of soon-to-be-parents, Reuters reports that 100,000 pregnant women in the United States contract chlamydia each year while over 13,000 have gonorrhea. Yet, very few pregnant women even get tested for STDs, despite regular doctors visits during their prenatal care.
The CDC recommends that all pregnant women be screened for chlamydia during their first prenatal appointment, but a big chunk apparently are not:
Researchers found that of nearly 1.3 million U.S. women who had blood work done during pregnancy, only 59 percent were tested for Chlamydia — a common STD that can cause pregnancy complications or be passed on to newborns.
The CDC suggests that only pregnant women at “increased risk” need be tested for gonorrhea, meaning that they live in areas where the disease is common and are under the age of 25. Dr. Jay M. Lieberman, who worked on the study, told Reuters that his research determines “a significant gap between the recommendations and actual practice,” a dangerous reality for mothers as chlamydia and gonorrhea frequently have no symptoms. Yet the impact can be dire for both mommy and baby:
If left untreated, chlamydia and gonorrhea can cause pelvic inflammatory disease, which can lead to infertility or an ectopic pregnancy — a dangerous condition in which the fertilized egg grows outside the uterus.
Both STDs can also infect the baby during childbirth. Chlamydia can cause eye infections or pneumonia in newborns, while gonorrhea can lead to joint infections or serious blood infections.
So speak up at those prenatal visits, ladies. Because as many learn in their pre-children years, avoiding testing for STDs certainly doesn’t mean that you don’t have one — or your baby, for that matter.