It is sad to note that in spite of several warnings, many women still fail to protect themselves from Sexually Transmitted Diseases and their after effects. Scores of women out there suffer from STDs on a day to day basis.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases During Pregnancy
And while the effects of these diseases can be easily ignored in normal circumstances, the potential dangers they could cause to the body would need to be carefully scrutinized in the case of pregnant women.
STDs and Pregnancy
STD does not know a pregnant woman from an otherwise normal woman. And there are no exceptions for pregnant women when it comes to STDs. A pregnant woman can contract STDs as easily as a non pregnant woman. However, in the case of pregnant women, the risks posed by these diseases increase manifold, with the possibility of the infection spreading to the developing fetus as well.
Effects of STDs on Pregnant Women
The consequences of STDs can be the same for both pregnant and non pregnant women. Some women may not experience any symptoms at all. However, in the case of pregnant women, the chances of contracting certain conditions increase manifold. These include chronic hepatitis, cancer, cirrhosis etc.
Pregnant women with STDs also stand greater chances of suffering from premature labor, miscarriage, uterine infections post delivery, and premature rupture of the uterine membranes that enclose the baby etc.
Effects of STDs on the Fetus and Baby
The alarming thing is that STDs during pregnancy have very strong chances of passing over from the mother to the fetus via the placenta. This could seriously hamper the fetus’s normal growth and could even lead to life threatening conditions for both the mother and the baby inside.
Accordingly, a pregnant woman who has STDs has high chances of infecting her baby during pregnancy (the fetus), during delivery or post pregnancy. Certain STDs like syphilis can infect the developing fetus during the initial stages of pregnancy itself. These diseases can cross over to the fetus from the placenta and could put the baby at risk of permanent health related defects.
Certain STDs like Chlamydia, genital herpes, gonorrhea and hepatitis B etc. can affect the baby during delivery. These diseases cross from the mother to the baby via the vaginal canal during labor. It is even possible for babies to contract HIV from their mothers during delivery. On the other hand, STDs like HIV can also affect a baby post pregnancy via breast feeding.
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Some of the more serious issues caused by STDs that are transmitted from mothers to their babies include stillbirth, blood related infections like neonatal sepsis, low weight during birth, neurological damages in the brain, motor function disorders, eye infections like conjunctivitis, congenital abnormalities like organ damage, blindness or deafness, chronic liver disease, pneumonia, meningitis, cirrhosis and acute hepatitis etc.
A sad fact about these diseases is that while some of them can be detected at birth itself, some tend to grow with the child and manifest only after several weeks, months or years.
Treatments for Pregnant Women with STDs
Certain STDs can be effectively treated during pregnancy to prevent the infection from spreading to the fetus or baby. These include conditions like gonorrhea, vaginosis, Chlamydia, syphilis and other bacterial infections etc. which are usually treated using antibiotics.
STDs like HIV and genital herpes etc. cannot be treated completely but can be kept at bay during pregnancy with the help of prescribed medications. Again, these diseases cannot be cured completely but can be curbed to a certain extent to minimize the spread of the infection.