Getting Tested for STDs Before and During Pregnancy
I know, I know—sexually transmitted diseases are the last thing on your mind when you’ve got a baby to plan for. But, before you do anything else, you really need to understand the risks involved with STDs and pregnancy and see just why it’s important for you to get tested for STDs even you and your partner feel perfectly fine.
STD Facts That Will Shock You
Most people believe that if they are in a monogamous relationship there is no need to worry about STDs. However, this couldn’t be farther from the truth! You or your partner may have an STD from one of your previous relationships and not know it. As a matter of fact, there are several STDs that you can have without experiencing any symptoms at all; Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, HPV…the list goes on.
Something else that may shock you is how long some STDs can lie dormant in your body. What this means is that even if you’ve been tested and the results showed nothing out of the ordinary, it can change if you get tested again later on. This is why doctors will test you for something like Chlamydia twice while pregnant. It is common to be tested and then re-tested 3 weeks later just to be sure.
Still think that you’re completely STD-free? You should know that more than eighty percent of women will contract a form of HPV by the time they reach the age of fifty. That is almost ALL females! And again, many strains of HPV cause no symptoms at all. However, HPV is responsible for the majority of cervical cancer cases—many of which are diagnosed during pregnancy or follow-up after giving birth.
Finally, the other way that STDs and pregnancy are connected comes from the risks that some infections can cause your fertility as well as your baby. Gonorrhea can cause infertility if left untreated and most STDs can be passed to your baby during delivery and put them at risk of various complications, including death.
Getting tested for STDs can be done with your family doctor, your OBGYN or at a family planning clinic. Depending on the infection you are being tested for, most can be done with a swab which is similar to your pap smear or through a urine sample. Talk to your doctor about the risks of STDs and pregnancy as well as getting tested if you are pregnant or planning to get pregnant. It can save you from serious complications and risks to your fertility, your overall health and your unborn baby.