STI TIPS
I’m pregnant.
Can I get an STI?

Fast Facts

  • If you are pregnant, you can become infected with the same sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as women who are not pregnant. Pregnant women should ask their doctors about getting tested for STIs, since some doctors do not routinely perform these tests

I’m pregnant. Can I get an STI?

Yes.
Women who are pregnant can become infected with the same STIs as women who are not pregnant. Pregnancy does not provide women or their babies any additional protection against STIs.

If you are pregnant, you should be tested for STIs, including HIV (the virus that causes AIDS), as a part of your medical care during pregnancy. The results of an STI can be more serious, even life-threatening, for you and your baby if you become infected while pregnant. It is important that you are aware of the harmful effects of STIs and how to protect yourself and your unborn baby against infection. If you are diagnosed with an STI while pregnant, your sex partner(s) should also be tested and treated.

How can STIs affect me and my unborn baby?

STIs can complicate your pregnancy and may have serious effects on both you and your developing baby. Some of these problems may be seen at birth; others may not be discovered until months or years later.

In addition, it is well known that infection with an STI can make it easier for a person to get infected with HIV. Most of these problems can be prevented if you receive regular medical care during pregnancy. This includes tests for STIs starting early in pregnancy and repeated close to delivery, as needed.

Should I be tested for STIs during my pregnancy?

Yes.
Testing and treating pregnant women for STIs is a vital way to prevent serious health complications to both mother and baby that may otherwise happen with infection.

The sooner you begin receiving medical care during pregnancy, the better the health outcomes will be for you and your unborn baby.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2015 STI Treatment Guidelines recommend screening pregnant women for STIs. The CDC screening recommendations that your health care provider should follow are incorporated into the table on the STDs during Pregnancy – Detailed CDC Fact Sheet http://www.cdc.gov/std/pregnancy/stdfact-pregnancy-detailed.htm Be sure to ask your doctor about getting tested for STIs.

It is also important that you have an open, honest conversation with your provider and discuss any symptoms you are experiencing and any high-risk sexual behaviour that you engage in, since some doctors do not routinely perform these tests. Even if you have been tested in the past, you should be tested again when you become pregnant.

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Can I get treated for an STI while I’m pregnant?

It depends. STIs, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, trichomoniasis and Bacterial Vaginosis (BV) can all be treated and cured with antibiotics that are safe to take during pregnancy.

STIs that are caused by viruses, like genital herpes, hepatitis B, or HIV cannot be cured.

However, in some cases these infections can be treated with antiviral medications or other preventive measures to reduce the risk of passing the infection to your baby.

If you are pregnant or considering pregnancy, you should be tested so you can take steps to protect yourself and your baby.

How can I reduce my risk of getting an STI while pregnant?

The only way to avoid STIs is to not have vaginal, anal, or oral sex. If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting STIs:

  • Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STI test results
  • Using latex condoms, the right way every time you have sex

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