WHO states, worldwide, more than 10 lakh sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired every day. If you are planning a pregnancy or are pregnant, this article is worth reading for you.
What are Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)?
STD refers to a range of infections caused by microorganisms that can spread from one person to another through sexual contact. It can also be contracted and spread through blood transfusions, use of contaminated needles/ razors or via exposure to contaminated body fluids. An infected mother can also pass the same to the fetus or the unborn child during pregnancy, at the time of childbirth or while breastfeeding.
Major STD causing viruses or agents include;
- AIDS – Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
- Hepatitis B Virus
- Hepatitis C virus
- Herpes Simplex Virus
- Chlamydia (Chlamydia trachomatis)
- Gonorrhoea (Neisseria gonorrhoeae)
- Treponema (Treponema pallidum)
Why STD testing during pregnancy is important?
Many people with STDs do not show any signs or symptoms initially. Undiagnosed infections lead to untreated STDs which may pose serious health hazards to you and your baby.
STDs can have the following adverse effects on your pregnancy-
- Infection of the uterus
Also, when STDs pass on to your baby, they can cause-
- Eye infection or even blindness
- Preterm birth
- Low birth weight
- Brain damage
- Fetal death
How do I know if I have STDs?
While complications by STDs can be risky for your pregnancy, why should one take a chance? The following tests help in detecting STDs:
- Blood tests to detect the viruses directly
- Blood tests to detect antibodies against the causative agents
- Culture samples taken from sores or blisters to identify the infectious agents
- Vaginal or cervical sample culture to isolate and identify the causative organisms
Screening for the presence of these infections during pregnancy is far more crucial as it is about two lives! Do not hide your STD status if positive and instead embrace the follow up instructions by your physician!
“STDs in pregnancy- are a threat to infancy”