You're Pregnant with Gonorrhea - Now What?
Gonorrhea is one of the most well known and common STDs. This is a serious bacteria infection that can be transmitted from one person to another through the genitals either through oral or anal sex. Approximately 650,000 new cases of gonorrhea are reported just in the United States each year. This number includes 40,000 pregnant women. It is very important to know if you have gonorrhea and to know how to treat it; this becomes even more urgent if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
Gonorrhea and Pregnancy
As the baby exits the birth canal during labor, a woman can transmit her gonorrhea to the infant. For the mother, gonorrhea can create more instances of miscarriage during the pregnancy. It can also create preterm labor, premature rupturing of the membranes, infections of the amniotic sac and fluid and many other problems. If a woman continues to have gonorrhea and to go untreated, it can also make her more likely to contract HIV and other STDs. For the baby, the most common problem if it gets gonorrhea during delivery is eye problems. Most states have a law that babies receive eye drops immediately after delivery - one reason that they do this is to minimize the risk of eye infections and blindness that can occur from gonorrhea. In addition to these drops, babies with gonorrhea need to be treated with antibiotics.
How Do I Know If I Have Gonorrhea?
Usually, a woman does not know that she has this STD, as it doesn't present with obvious symptoms. If you do have symptoms, they will usually present ten days or so after having sex with an infected person. They can include vaginal discharge, burning or pain while urinating, bleeding during sex and itching. If you are pregnant, then the infection is usually in the cervix, urethra and vagina. Occasionally, although not often, the infection can enter the bloodstream and cause a gonococcal infection. This can create many problems including skin sores, infection and pain in the joints, and even heart infection. This problem is more common in women than in men, and is also more common in pregnant women than in those who aren't expecting.
Treatment During Pregnancy
If you know that you have gonorrhea and are pregnant, you certainly need to tell your doctor. If you suspect that you might have an STD, you should tell your doctor and have him test you. This disease is not automatically screened for during your first prenatal visit, as many STDs are. To test you, your doctor will take a swab of your cervical fluid and will send it to the lab for analysis. If it comes back positive, you'll be treated for gonorrhea and for other STDs, as they often come together. You'll be given antibiotics that are safe to take during pregnancy and your partner will also need to be treated. You'll have to refrain from sex until you've both completed treatment.
Keeping Yourself Clean
It's very important to try to avoid getting gonorrhea, or any STD, if you can. The best way to do so is to abstain from sex entirely. Assuming that you are going to be sexually active, make sure to use a latex condom consistently and correctly and to be careful with your selection of partners. If you think that you might have a problem, seek out a doctor's help immediately and get treatment. If you are pregnant or may become pregnant, you want to be particularly careful and seek out help if you think you might have gonorrhea or any other STD.