told, pregnancy is no guarantee against sexually transmitted diseases, so
pregnant women are as vulnerable to the very same STDs as those who are not
pregnant. The devastating consequences
of sexually transmitted diseases in women are well known and these very
diseases can be dramatically more devastating and dangerous for pregnant women
and especially for their unborn baby.
is, STDs contracted during pregnancy can be life threatening. All women need to be educated and aware of
the dangers and potential consequences of sexually transmitted diseases –
before pregnancy – in order to be apprised of the methods of protection for
both themselves and their yet-to-be-born children.
result of STDs in pregnant women can be exactly the same as in non-pregnant
women, and these consequences can lead to such diseases as cervical and other
cancers, chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis of the liver and myriad other
complications. Because there are often
no obvious symptoms in women, sexually transmitted diseases can go unnoticed
until such time as pregnancy occurs. For
the pregnant woman, there are other complications that can occur such as the early
onset of labor, premature rupture of membrane surrounding the baby and uterine
infection after delivery of the baby.
Transference of STDs to Unborn Babies
There is a
real danger of transmission of sexually transmitted diseases from the woman
directly to her fetus, newborn, or infant which can occur at any stage –
before, during or after birth. There are
certain STDs which are able to cross the placenta and infect the baby en utero,
potentially disrupting fetal development. Syphilis falls into this category.
Other STDs, such as gonorrhea, Chlamydia, hepatitis B, and genital
herpes can affect the baby, especially during vaginal delivery.
HIV have a whole set of challenges to deal with, outside those noted
above. HIV positive women can transmit
the AIDS virus to their unborn child through the placenta during the pregnancy,
or the baby can contract the virus during the birthing process. What is unique to HIV is the possibility of
transference of the virus through the mother’s milk while breastfeeding.
all of the possible consequences of infections sustained through STD infections
will be apparent at the time of birth.
There is often a time lag of months or even years in the discovery and
exposure of sexually transmitted diseases contracted by children in the birthing