Most people don’t realize that California is facing a sexually transmitted diseases (STD) crisis. The state leads the nation in new cases of gonorrhea and chlamydia, and Los Angeles leads the state in both. California has the highest number of babies born with syphilis each year. Unbelievable right?
STD testing is important. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notes that STD tests are one of the most important measures you can take when it comes to your health. It recommends that all people ages 13 to 64 should be tested at least once in their life for HIV and that all sexually active women 25 and younger (as well as those older than 25 with risk factors such as multiple partners) be tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia (a simple vaginal sample or urine test) every year.
But for women, there are more specific suggestions regarding testing, too — especially when it comes to having a baby on the way. The CDC suggests all ladies be tested for syphilis, HIV, and hepatitis B starting early in pregnancy and that at-risk pregnant women be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea, too. The CDC also recommends screening for pregnant women in their first trimester if they are under 25, as well as those over 25 if they are at an increased risk.
STDs can put your baby’s health at risk. For example, gonorrhea and chlamydia can cause lifelong damage to your fallopian tubes where the egg travels from the ovaries to the uterus, negatively impacting future fertility if you don’t treat the infections. These infections can cause inflammation in the fallopian tubes called Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) and each episode of PID doubles the rate of infertility. Because chlamydia and gonorrhea can result in inflammation and damage to the tubes, they can also up your risk of ectopic pregnancy, when a fertilized egg exists outside of the uterus, and preterm birth, says Brady.
When left untreated, syphilis can also cause significant birth defects to a fetus in pregnancy, Brady notes. And trichomoniasis can increase risk of preterm delivery and low birth weight.
So, STD not can complicate your pregnancy but also will pass it along to your baby.
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The Womans Frist Choice Team