STI Screening in Pregnancy: What to Know

Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are caused by viruses, bacteria, and parasites transmitted through sex. Pregnant women can become infected and pass the infection to their unborn children.


If not treated, an STI can cause serious issues for the mother and baby. If you suspect an infection, it is vital to see a doctor for screening. You can read about STI screening in pregnancy and what to know.


Common Types of STIs


There are common STIs that include chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, genital herpes, genital warts (HPV), HIV, and trichomoniasis. Other infections are not STIs but can be sexually transmitted. They include thrush, hepatitis A, scabies, bacterial vaginosis, and mycoplasma genitalium.


Symptoms of STIs


Many women with sexually transmitted infections do not have symptoms. Most do not realize that they are infected until they experience complications or if the partner receives a positive diagnosis. Some people experience symptoms like:


  • Bumps or sores on the genitals or mouth

  • Vaginal discharge

  • Pain when urinating

  • Unusual vaginal bleeding

  • Lower abdomen pain

  • Pain during sex

  • Swollen or sore lymph nodes


If you experience any symptoms, it is vital to get a test as soon as possible.


STI and Pregnancy


It is vital to realize that you can get an STI while pregnant. The infections can be harmful to you and the baby, and you need to get treatment. Healthcare providers will usually screen for STIs during the first prenatal visit.


If you have sex with someone who has an infection during your pregnancy, you need screening during subsequent appointments. If you suspect that you have been exposed to an infection, inform your doctor. Immediate treatment can help protect your baby. STIs can affect a woman’s fertility or ability to get pregnant.


STI Screening in Pregnancy


Screening during pregnancy is crucial to prevent health complications. During the first prenatal visit, you can expect to get a thorough screening. The doctor may conduct lab tests as part of the comprehensive exam.


Tests include a Pap smear, blood tests, syphilis screening, HIV testing, and hepatitis B testing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers guidelines for screening pregnant women. The outcome of the screening will allow the doctor to provide treatment and monitor your pregnancy effectively.


STIs and Pregnancy Complications


STIs can cause complications during pregnancy since a positive diagnosis with an STI can affect you and the developing baby. Some complications of the infections may not be apparent at birth but develop months or years later.


If you get a positive diagnosis for an STI, both you and your partner require treatment. Receiving regular care during pregnancy can help prevent complications associated with STIs.


It is necessary to be open and honest with your doctor regarding STIs. It is possible to treat some STIs effectively during pregnancy, though other infections have no cure, such as HIV. Medications and preventive measures can help reduce the risk of infecting the baby. June 27 is National HIV Testing Day, and it is a good time to go for testing.


For more on STI screening in pregnancy, contact Partners in Obstetrics & Women’s Health at our office in New Lenox, Illinois. You can call (815) 240-0554 today to schedule an appointment.

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