STIs, or Sexually Transmitted Infections, are infections that are transferred from person to person through any sexual contact. If you are pregnant, there is strong chance that you could have an STI as well.
Unfortunately, many women (and men) are not aware they are infected because they have no symptoms. Even if you are infected with an STI and don’t have symptoms, you can still pass on the infection to a partner or even to a fetus in the womb. If left untreated, these infections can cause serious harm to your body. Below, you can find information on the most common STIs.
Chlamydia is one of the most commonly reported STIs in the United States. It typically does not elicit any symptoms initially, which is why it’s often called the “silent disease.” If an infected woman does experience symptoms, they may include burning with urination, unusual vaginal discharge, blood in the urine or pelvic pain. Once diagnosed, chlamydia can be treated with antibiotics.
Gonorrhea is one of the most common STIs found in men and women ages 18 to 24. It is spread by having oral, anal or vaginal contact with an infected person. Many women infected with gonorrhea do not have any symptoms. If they do, they are typically mistaken for a bladder infection. Although gonorrhea is curable, leaving it untreated it can cause serious and permanent health problems.
While STIs are already a health risk for women, when paired with pregnancy, they can cause even more damage to you and the developing fetus. A pregnant woman with untreated gonorrhea is more likely to miscarry or give birth early. If a woman is left untreated during the time of birth, it may cause the baby to be born blind or have other life-threatening infections. In regards to chlamydia, a woman still has a higher risk of miscarriage and preterm birth, but she also runs the risk of her child being born with severe eye infections and even pneumonia.
If you have had unprotected sex, it’s important that you are tested for STIs and treated right away. Contact ABC Women’s Center to learn more about STDs/STIs and receive local referral information on where you can get testing and treatment. Make your free appointment today.