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STI and Pregnancy - How does it impact the child?

Everyone wants their baby to be born happy and healthy and to make it possible its always important to ensure that either or both the parents aren’t affected with an STI of any kind. Of course one can still have a healthy baby without transmitting the STI to it during gestation or while delivery, but at times STIs can cause infertility if not treated for too long, pose complications for the mother and child during gestation or even result in the infection getting transmitted to the child. Here are some pointers to help you:

  • It's always a good option to get a routine health check up and get tested for STIs before you go for conception, and in case any of you are positive for so, you should get treated or take suppressive therapy for the time being.

  • Some of the treatments are not suitable for pregnant women as they can affect the baby and result in complications.

Gonorrhoea and Chlamydia

Though both gonorrhoea and chlamydia are curable, most people’s infection goes undetected because the symptoms aren’t mostly noticeable. If treated early the chances of infertility and adverse effects of the infection such as premature birth, still birth, low birthweight and miscarriage can lower significantly.

If the STI is contracted during pregnancy, it is still safe to take the antibiotics then, however, the risk of the neonate contracting an eye infection persists and thus the child is given appropriate eye drops or ointments to prevent any such outbreak after the delivery.

Having an active Gonorrhoea infection can result in the neonate acquiring eye, joint or blood infections, but they can be treated with antibiotics nonetheless.

Herpes Virus

Herpes is of the class of viruses which once contracted cannot be cured, but can merely be suppressed using antiviral medications. But having an active outbreak of genital herpes during pregnancy can be fatal for the child if he develops a neonatal herpes condition.

Contracting herpes when pregnant is riskier as compared to having it before pregnant and getting it suppressed therapeutically while pregnant. However, one should always be aware of their Ob/Gyn of it in advance if such a condition is present. It can be safe to give a vaginal delivery too, but to be on a safer side the doctor may suggest you to go for a caesarean section.

Genital warts

Genital warts are caused by viruses and are thus more probable to get passed on to the child during birth, resulting in throat or genital infections.

They can be safely treated during pregnancy but the doctor must be told beforehand about the pregnancy to avoid any complications in pregnancy. It can be safe to give a vaginal delivery too, but to be on a safer side the doctor may suggest you to go for a caesarean section.


Syphilis is a serious bacterial infection which can be easily transmitted to your foetus during your pregnancy. It is always advisable to get treated for the same before you conceive as it can result in the foetus developing multiple organ failures/complications, having a premature delivery and even miscarriage.

Syphilis is treatable with antibacterial treatment and in case it is contracted or discovered during pregnancy, the antibacterial medicines will work to lower the risk of transmission of the bacterial infection to the foetus.

Trichomonas Vaginalis

Trichomonas vaginalis is a parasitic infection which mainly causes vaginal discharge along with other symptoms. This infection can cause the baby to have a low birthweight and may induce premature delivery too. However, it can be treated with antibiotics or ant parasitic drugs.


As the name suggests Human Immuno-Deficiency Virus, this virus overtime weakens the immune system and its response to infections that one encounters almost daily thus eliminating the chances of a person living disease-free. It isn’t treatable but can be controlled with appropriate treatment and thus prevent one from spreading it to their loved ones such as their partner and children.

Nonetheless, if the mother remains untreated for the virus, there is a 25% chance that she might end up passing it to her foetus, compared to 1% risk of transferring it to the baby when she is treated effectively.

It can be safe to give a vaginal delivery too, but to be on a safer side the doctor may suggest you to go for a caesarean section.

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