Every year there are approximately 40,000 new cases of pregnant women who have gonorrhea. As one of the most well known STDs, gonorrhea is a serious bacterial infection. It is transmitted from the infected person to another person either through the genitals or through oral or anal sex. Each year, approximately 650,000 new cases of gonorrhea are reported in the United States alone, according to the Center for Disease Control. It is very important for women, especially those who might become pregnant, to understand this infection and to know what to do about it.
Gonorrhea and Newborns
If a woman has gonorrhea, she will potentially transmit the infection to the baby through the birth canal. Babies who contract the disease will often have eye infections that can lead to blindness. This is the main reason that most states in American require that eye drops be administered to babies immediately after they are born. If the birthing team also knows that the mother has gonorrhea, then the baby will receive antibiotics as well.
Gonorrhea and Your Pregnancy
If you have gonorrhea while pregnant, you are more likely to miscarry. You also might experience preterm labor, a premature rupture of the membrane, infections of the amniotic sac and fluid, and other similar problems. While many infections are screened for at a prenatal visit, this one is not. Therefore, if you think that you might have gonorrhea, or if there is any chance that you do, it is important to tell your doctor. Your doctor will then test you for it by taking a swab of your cervical fluid and sending it to the lab to be analyzed. If the result is positive, then you’ll immediately receive treatment, even while you are pregnant. You’ll also be treated for other STDs, as 40% of people with gonorrhea also have Chlamydia. You’ll be treated with antibiotics that are safe to take during pregnancy. You’ll also need to have your partner tested and will need to refrain from sexual activity until you’ve both completed your treatments.
How to Detect Gonorrhea
Other than going to the doctor and asking for a test to be performed, there are not too many ways to know that you have gonorrhea. Most people with this infection do not realize that they have it. If you do experience symptoms, they will occur approximately ten days after having sex with an infected person. The symptoms can include such things as vaginal discharge, burning or pain while urinating, bleeding during sex and itching. If you’re already pregnant, then the infections usually occur in the cervix, urethra and vagina. Sometimes, although rarely, gonorrhea can enter the bloodstream and can cause something called a gonococcal infection. This causes all sorts of problems which include sores on the skin, infections and pain in the joints, and heart infections. This extreme situation is more common for women than it is for men, and is more common in pregnant women than it is in those who aren’t expecting.
Obviously, no one wants to experience gonorrhea or any other STD. In order to guarantee that you stay safe, you need to abstain from sex completely. If this is not an option, then you need to make sure to use latex condoms consistently and be sure to select your partners carefully. You and your partner can be tested before engaging in any sexual activity, thereby knowing beforehand if there is a potential problem. If you do think that there is a problem, you should go to a doctor as soon as possible to be tested and treated. These are some of the important ways to ensure that you’ll have a successful and safe pregnancy – and a healthy new baby.