Chlamydia is a bacterial infection caused by Chlamydia Trachomatis. It is a sexually transmitted disease which can be passed from the mother to her baby during labor. This is a common disease and the latest report from the Public Health Agency warns us that over 2 million people from Canada are infected with chlamydia each year.
Can chlamydia affect pregnancy?
Pregnant women who have this disease have increased chances of infection of the amniotic fluid, preterm premature rupture of the membranes and preterm birth. In 2008 there was a connection between chlamydia and miscarriage, but two years later studies showed that they aren’t connected. If you have an untreated chlamydia infection the chances you’ll become more susceptible to HIV and other sexually transmitted infection are higher, but, if the infection is treated promptly, chlamydia will not do any harm to you or your baby. Even if you treat the chlamydia during pregnancy your baby may be still be endangered of developing conjunctivitis after birth. Therefore you have to warn your medical practitioner to take precautions during birth.
How will I know if I have chlamydia?
The CDC recommendations state that all pregnant women must be screened for chlamydia during their first visit. In this way even if the woman doesn’t have any symptoms, she will know whether she has been infected by chlamydia trachomatis. Your medical practitioner will take a swab from your vagina and send the sample to the lab for analysis. The results will arrive in 48 hours.
Women who are under the age of 25 are at higher risk of contracting chlamydia, this test may also be repeated during the third semester of pregnancy. This is done in order to make sure that you are not infected by this or other STD’s as you prepare for labor.
Women do not have any symptoms immediately after they are infected. The main symptoms can appear one to three weeks after the woman was already infected. The infection symptoms include increased vaginal discharge, discomfort when you urinate, bloated stomach and inflammation of the cervix. Pregnant women mix the chlamydia symptoms with the common urinary tract infections, so it is easy to not know you have it.
It is treated exclusively with antibiotics that are safe during pregnancy. Your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic that you can take in a single dose, or there are other doses which you can take over the course of a week. Both partners are treated for chlamydia and sex is forbidden during therapy and a week after the treatment is completed.
The main question of “how did I get it” is in the minds of every pregnant woman. I am here to inform you that even though it is a sexually transmitted disease, it doesn’t mean that it was transferred from your partner. Therefore, do not think that your partner is a cheater. Wash your hands everywhere you go and do not let your partner touch your genitals before he washes his hands as well. If you work in a large firm and many people have access to your desk or workstation, make sure that you clean your desk and surrounding area first before you touch it.
Having a long-term partner and a monogamy relationship is what you need to prevent yourself from this or other STD’s. If you have sex with other people make sure that you use latex condoms during sex. Use a dental dam if you have oral sex in order to reduce the risk of having other STDs. If you are pregnant and you have been exposed to chlamydia do not hesitate to call your practitioner right away. If you treat the chlamydia promptly it will not affect your pregnancy.