What Happens If You Have Chlamydia While Pregnant?

What happens if you have chlamydia while pregnant


Chlamydia is one of the most commonly reported cases of bacterial-related STI. In most cases, chlamydia is symptomless, and therefore it’s difficult to diagnose without the use of medical tests. According to the Centers for Diseases Control (CDC), there are approximately 2.86 million chlamydia infections annually in the USA. You shouldn't be worried so much about it either because it is easily cured with antibiotics. However, if you are diagnosed with chlamydia while pregnant, then you should be worried. In fact, you should speak with your doctor immediately for effective treatment. In this article, let's discuss what happens if have chlamydia while pregnant.


First, to be sure about whether you have chlamydia infection or not, you should be screened. In fact, CDC recommends that all pregnant women should get tested for chlamydia when pregnant especially during the first trimester. This is because if these conditions< are left untreated, it can have adverse effects on the baby.


What Happens If You Have Chlamydia While Pregnant?

If you happen to have a chlamydia infection during pregnancy, there is a higher risk of transmitting it to your baby during childbirth. However, if you are successfully treated for chlamydia before delivery, then your baby will be safe.


Additionally, pregnant mothers with cases of untreated chlamydia infections are at high risk of developing pregnancy-related complications such as stillbirth, premature birth or even miscarriage. So it's the responsibility of every infected expectant mother to discuss her condition with a doctor and find out which treatment is suitable for her.


Additionally, if your baby shows symptoms of chlamydia, your doctor will arrange for a test. If the bacterial infection is present in the baby’s system, then the effective treatment will be administered to treat the condition as soon as possible. Below are some of the most common effects of chlamydia during pregnancy.


Effects On The Baby

If a pregnant mother passes the chlamydia infection to the baby, mainly during birth, then the baby can experience the following symptoms

There is no concrete evidence that you can pass this infection to your baby within the womb.


Effects On The Pregnancy

  • Pre-mature births
  • Miscarriage or stillbirth
  • Fever during labour or during the first weeks after delivery
  • A rare type of infection in the amniotic sac


What Are The Symptoms Of Chlamydia?

In most cases, chlamydia presents no symptoms. Actually, this fact is to blame for the widespread infections. It's even possible to have these infections for months or even years without realizing it. In most, most pregnant women may experience;

  • Vaginal discharge
  • Pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Bleeding after sex or between periods
  • Pain during sex
  • Pain or burning when urinating

If you are worried that you have this infection, you can get tested. For pregnant mothers, a free test is offered for chlamydia during the first trimester. However, if you are worried about the condition, don't wait until you get pregnant to screen for chlamydia - the earlier, the better.


In most cases, this test involves a swab (a cotton bud is wiped over the infected region such as your vagina) or a urine sample. Usually, chlamydia can't affect your pregnancy test, and both tests can be taken at the same time.


How Do You Treat Chlamydia In Pregnancy?

Remember that chlamydia during pregnancy cause birth defects, and therefore it should be treated with immediate effect. In addition, chlamydia medication is readily available and inexpensive. Therefore, if you have been infected, seek suitable medicines from your doctor.


Once your doctor prescribes the treatment, it's recommended they you follow all the instructions and take the medication as prescribed. Afterwards, your doctor may require you to undergo an additional test after 3 to 5 weeks to confirm whether or not the initial treatment was effective. If not, the doctor will advise you on another treatment until your infection is cleared.

Here is a guideline to some of the antibiotics treatment options your doctor is likely to prescribe;

  • A single dose of azithromycin
  • A one week dose of Amoxicillin
  • One week course of erythromycin

According to research, almost these three antibiotics are safe and effective for treating chlamydia during pregnancy as well as breastfeeding. It's however recommended that pregnancy-related treatment should be dealt with one-by-one basis. Pregnant women should also consult with a doctor before deciding on taking any medication.


Additionally, chlamydia treatment usually has rare side effects including vomiting, nausea, and diarrhea. Erythromycin usually presents more side-effects than Amoxicillin and azithromycin.


How Can You Avoid Chlamydia During Pregnancy?

All STIs including chlamydia can be avoided by abstaining from sex. However, there is not an option for many people. Other tips may involve taking precautions such as using protection when having sex such as using a condom. Remember that contraceptive pills can help avoid pregnancy, but they can't protect you from contracting STIs such as chlamydia.


Navigating pregnancy is difficult on its own even without adding a sexually transmitted infection. Having the two conditions at the same time is quite stressing and can cause additional anxiety. Therefore, if you suspect that you have chlamydia or you are wondering what happens if you have chlamydia while pregnant, it's crucial to talk to your doctor right away even without waiting for the free chlamydia and pregnant first-trimester test. And, since the infection can be cleared quite quickly and easily with antibiotics, there is entirely no reason to put your baby at risk.

Author:

Catherine Nderi

Catherine is a dedicated freelance health and science writer committed to excellence and professionalism. She specializes in health topics including diet and nutrition, immune-related diseases, surgery, and cancer.

Reviewed By:

Dr. Kaushal M. Bhavsar (MBBS, MD)

Assistant Professor in Pulmonary Medicine, GMERS Medical College, Ahmedabad