STDS During Pregnancy: Here’s What You Need To Know

I have seen it happen to my patients who are pregnant at any number of points along their pregnancy journey. Sometimes it’s a fleeting moment of realization, other times it sparks a bigger conversation that carries into the days, months, and years that follow.

It’s not just about you anymore, and if you are thinking about complications from STDS during pregnancy, you’re not alone.

This life you’re living and the body you’re living it with take on a whole new meaning when you’re pregnant. Every decision you make influences the growth and development of a tiny human you have the privilege to raise. And that doesn’t stop at making sure you stay active and  whether or not you should avoid eating deli meat. 

It’s imperative for any expecting mother to keep up with her regular check-ups with her Obstetrician-Gynecologist, but there are circumstances that make it even more necessary to do so.

Pre-existing conditions, including Sexually Transmitted Diseases and Sexually Transmitted Infections, are important to know about and plan accordingly for ahead of time.

STDS During Pregnancy

It’s important to clarify that yes, diseases and infections are different but they are also used interchangeably. Let’s keep it simple and use them interchangeably.

Many of the most common STDs do spark a need for added care and caution during pregnancy and ultimately delivery of the baby. 

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), chlamydia, genital herpes, genital warts, and gonorrhea are considered to be among the most common STDs, and all can be passed to your baby in a variety of ways.

  1. HPV can be passed to a child through the bloodstream before birth or through the vaginal canal during birth. 
  2. While it is rare, genital warts that commonly develop along with HPV occasionally pass along to the baby during birth.
  3. Genital herpes are a more serious concern, as some research suggests that genital herpes can lead to miscarriage or pre-term labor as it can be passed to your child before birth. It is more common for it to pass during birth, which can cause a potentially deadly infection called neonatal herpes.
  4. Chlamydia and gonorrhea present similar issues, including higher cases of miscarriage and pre-term labor. Both can pass to the baby during delivery and can cause eye issues, and lung problems in cases involving chlamydia.

What should I do if I’m pregnant with STDs?

The most important thing you can do is be honest with your OB-GYN from the start. Yes, I mean even before you become pregnant, your doctor should be aware of any health concerns or issues, including whether you have STDs. That’s step one and the reason for it is two-fold. 

First of all, your doctor can talk you through what your STD means for your pregnancy so there’s an understanding on the front end. Then, as we approach your due date, we do so with a full picture and keep an even closer eye out for any signs that could be something to address. 

We also screen for exposure to STDs throughout pregnancy. Remember, this is a judgement-free zone; we just want what is best for the health and wellness of you and the baby.

Depending on the particular STD, there may be special precautions we can take together in the delivery room to help facilitate a safe and healthy delivery for all. 

Because that is the end goal when it’s not just about you anymore. We want to approach the situation as prepared as possible for all involved. If you have more specific questions about STDs and pregnancy, please don’t hesitate to call your OB-GYN or reach out to me. I’m here to help!