When a woman is pregnant and is going to a doctor for prenatal care, there are routine blood tests to detect infections. With the continuous spread of sexually transmitted diseases and infections, STD testing during pregnancy is becoming more of a part of the routine initial exam. These tests are used to evaluate not only the health of the mother-to-be, but the potential health of the unborn child.
Routine tests will include a complete blood count or CBC to detect conditions such as anemia or possible infection. Other tests to determine infections and danger for the pregnancy include Hepatitis B, syphilis and HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). Sexually transmitted diseases are also being screened for as some STDS can be treated and others are not as easily treated during a pregnancy without causing further issues for the unborn baby. With many STDs going unnoticed for long periods of time in women, there is a need to be tested as part of an overall health exam when checking for pregnancies and as part of the prenatal exam.
Pregnant women can become infected with sexually transmitted diseases that can cause early labor, uterine infections and even a stillborn birth where the baby is born dead. Other STDs can be transmitted from the mother to the baby as the baby is being born. These STDs include gonorrhea, Chlamydia and genital herpes. HIV can affect the unborn child even before being born by crossing the placenta or after being born through breastfeeding.
Treatment for Infections
Chlamydia, syphilis and gonorrhea can be treated and cured with antibiotics while a woman is pregnant. HIV and genital herpes are not curable, but some antiviral medications can be used during the pregnancy without harming the unborn baby. A c-section or cesarean will be used to deliver the baby to prevent infecting the infant as it passes through the birth canal.
Transmission and Preventions
To prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases is to use abstinence or to not have sexual relations. A mutually monogamous partnership where there has been STD testing and remain STD free will prevent the spread of infection before and during pregnancy. The use of condoms while not 100 percent effective in the prevention of HIV virus and other sexually transmitted diseases, do greatly deter the spread of disease when worn appropriately. The condom when properly used has been found, outside of abstinence, to be the best way to stop the spread of infectious diseases through sexual relations.
The CDC continues to promote that the spread of sexually transmitted diseases continues to be epidemic. Precautions and protocols for STD testing during pregnancy are being expanded to protect future mothers and the unborn. Encouraging the testing for STDs by seeking the local STD testing clinic or having an open communication with the family physician is one method of remaining free of sexually transmitted diseases while maintaining one’s health. Early detection and treatments keep the prospective mother and unborn child healthy during pregnancy, after the birth and into the future for both mother and child.