Chatter and whispers about sexually transmitted diseases (STD) may have been the norm in your college dorm, it may not be the topic you anticipated discussing with your doctor on a visit for your pregnancy. However, there are more woman than you may realize who have an STD while pregnant. It's not a subject that is typically brought up when talking with another mom-to-be, but if it was, chances are you would hear a lot of bad information being passed around. The myths about being pregnant and having an STD can usually be traced back to some half-truths and misinterpretations. But it all makes more sense when you look at the facts.
All pregnant women should opt for STD screening, even if they believe they are not a carrier. Discovering one of these infections makes a huge difference in the safety of the baby. According to Baby Center, some sexually transmitted infections can pass to your baby through the placenta or be transmitted during labor and delivery or when your water breaks. The site also notes that newborn infections can be very serious, leading to long-term irreversible health and developmental problems. So the sooner the STD is discovered, the faster a plan can be made for an effective treatment and safe delivery. To keep the facts separated from fiction, take a look at these nine myths about pregnant women with STDs.
Myth #1: You Don't Need To Be Tested
Being pregnant isn't a free pass on being tested for STDs, in fact, it may be more crucial than ever. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), "testing and treating pregnant women for STDs is a vital way to prevent serious health complications to both mother and baby that may otherwise happen with infection." So the sooner an STD is discovered, the better chance for a successful treatment.
Myth #2: You Can Only Get STDs Through Sex
Some pregnant women may not worry about contracting an STD during pregnancy if both she was negative for any before the pregnancy started and hasn't changed sexual partners since becoming pregnant. However, infections like hepatitis B can live outside the body for at least a week or can be contracted by contaminated needles or other sharp instruments, contact with the blood or the open sores of an infected person, as Baby Center pointed out.
Myth #3: You'll Automatically Know If You Have One
Some Sexually Transmitted Diseases have a sneaky little trick: they hide in plain sight. As Parents magazine explained, herpes and chlamydia can live in your body, unnoticed for years — meaning many pregnant women don't even realize they had been infected.
Myth #4: You Can't Treat An STD During Pregnancy
Sure, when you're pregnant, there's a list of foods you can't eat, medications you can't take, and activities you can't do, but not treating a STD is another story. As What To Expect's website pointed out, untreated gonorrhea increases the risk of miscarriage, premature labor and delivery, and preterm premature rupture of membranes, as well as putting your baby at risk for eye, joint, and blood infections.
Myth #5: If It's Curable, You're In The Clear
When it comes to STDs, there are two categories of infections: bacterial and viral. Although bacterial STDs are curable, viral STDs are not curable, according to the website for the American Pregnancy Association. However, both types can effect the baby and pose the risk of being transferred in the birth canal. So even if a pregnant women is being treated for a curable STD, there are still risks to be addressed before delivery.
Myth #6: You'll Need A C-Section
This one is only partially true. Although having certain STDs means having a C-section, there are some that can be treated with medication, making a vaginal delivery safe, as The Bump pointed out.
Myth #7: The STD Won't Affect Your Pregnancy
Early detection and treatment mean better chances of protecting you baby from any harmful side affect due to an STD. But as the CDC reported, STDs can complicate your pregnancy, having a serious effect on both you and your developing baby.
Myth #8: The STD Won't Affect Your Baby
An undiagnosed or untreated STD can pose risks for your baby. According to the American Pregnancy Association, STDs can cause a range of problems for a baby, such as low birth weight, premature birth, various infections, and damage to internal organs.
Myth #9: All Weird Symptoms Down There Are STDs
Some symptoms of STDs such as trichomoniasis and bacterial vaginosis (BV) mimic those of a yeast infection, according to Parents. In order to sort out what's what, it's best to see you doctor for proper testing.