STIs and Pregnancy
Pregnancy & Parenthood
Most STIs can be treated during pregnancy,
and some can cause serious complications, so
it’s worth being tested early on. Some STIs
can be riskier the later you get them in your
pregnancy, so always use a condom or
femidom and if you think you’ve been put at
risk, get tested at the beginning of your last
trimester or when you give up working.
If you have bacterial vaginosis, you are at a
greater risk of premature rupture of the
membranes, preterm delivery and having a
low birth weight baby.
You may be tested for Chlamydia as part of
your antenatal care. It can be safely treated
with antibiotics while you’re pregnant. If it’s
not treated, there may be links between
Chlamydia and early miscarriage or
premature birth. It can be passed to the baby
during birth or, more rarely, during pregnancy,
where it can cause serious eye infections and
The herpes virus can cause problems if you
catch it for the first time while you’re
pregnant. If you had, or have had genital
herpes before you got pregnant, the risk is
very low, as your baby will develop antibodies
to it that will protect it during birth and for
months afterwards. If you get genital herpes
in the first two trimesters, the risk of passing
it on is slightly increased, and you may be
offered anti-viral medications. If you get
genital herpes in the late stages of
pregnancy, the risk is much higher, as your
baby will not have had time to develop
antibodies. You will need to take anti-viral
medications for the last four weeks of
pregnancy, and you may be offered a
caesarean delivery if you have blisters and
ulcers at the time of birth.
Genital warts can be passed during birth to
the baby, but this is rare.
Gonorrhoea can be passed to the baby during
birth, and it can cause serious eye infections
which can lead to blindness if not treated with
Hepatitis B can be passed to the baby during
pregnancy. If you haven’t been vaccinated for
Hepatitis B and think you may be at risk, you
can be vaccinated while you’re pregnant.
4% of pregnant women with Hepatitis C will
pass it to their baby – but this goes up to 19%
if the mother has both HIV and Hepatitis C.
HIV can be passed to the baby during
pregnancy, birth or breast-feeding, but the
risk can be reduced by medication during the
pregnancy and having a caesarean birth.
Pubic lice pose no problems for your
pregnancy, but you should see your doctor to
be prescribed treatment that’s safe.
Like pubic lice, scabies isn’t dangerous for
your baby, but you should see your doctor to
get a prescription for something that you can
safely use while you’re pregnant.
All pregnant women are tested for syphilis in
the second trimester, and it can be treated
with antibiotics while you’re pregnant. Syphilis
can be passed to the baby during pregnancy –
this is known as congenital syphilis – and it
can cause serious birth defects, miscarriage
Thrush doesn’t cause any complications in
pregnancy (and is actually quite common
during the third trimester) but it can be
passed to your baby at birth. This can then
lead to nipple thrush if you’re breastfeeding.
Thrush can be treated very easily.
Trichomonas can be treated while you’re
pregnant, although the treatment option is
not quite as effective at clearing the infection.
Trichomonas can be passed to the baby
during pregnancy, and can cause
complications like low birth weight and
STIs in Pregnancy
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