Chlamydia is the most common bacterial STD, especially in the United States and is considered dangerous since women who have it seldom display symptoms. This bacterial infection affects millions of women annually and they carry this infection not even knowing that they have it. The other bad news is Chlamydia in pregnancy affects the fetus. The good news is Chlamydial infection is treatable if proper diagnosis and care is taken.
The Lowdown on Chlamydia
- Chlamydia is the most common infection passed from mother to fetus making screening in pregnancy a must especially if you have had multiple partners in the past.
- The initial symptom (ignored most often) is a mildly irritating yellowish discharge often present in non-pregnant women.
- Other symptoms include painful intercourse, bleeding between periods, lower abdominal pain and painful urination.
- Untreated, it can travel up from the vagina and cause tubal closure, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) which subsequently can cause infertility or a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy.
- Untreated in pregnancy Chlamydia can cause eye and throat infections, pneumonia in the newborn if delivered vaginally.
- Chlamydia may also be responsible for miscarriage, premature rupture of membranes and premature labor.
Treatment of Chlamydia
- Though treatment prior to conception is best but prompt treatment during pregnancy can prevent Chlamydia linked infections in the newborn.
- Fortunately doctors routinely test for it with a cervical swab during the first prenatal visit and offer an antibiotic treatment to arrest the situation. Standard antibiotics are not safe but the antibiotic erythromycin is effective and safe
- If tested positive an antibiotic treatment which is safe for both mother and baby will be prescribed to prevent complications. It is important that your partner is tested and treated as well to prevent the infection from passing back and forth between you. It is best to avoid sexual contact until the treatment is complete.
- Infected babies will also be treated with antibiotics. As a precaution erythromycin ointment may be used on newborns to prevent Chlamydia related eye infection.