How do STDs Affect Pregnant Women and their Babies

by Sharon Hopkins

One of the myriad problems with sexually transmitted diseases is that there are so many different varieties and these can affect individuals differently. STDs have long been misunderstood and half the problem lies in the reluctance to freely discuss and educate people about these. While there have been mass awareness campaigns with regards to certain STDs, the fact remains that so little is actually known about them. Most public awareness campaigns relating to such diseases have focused on just certain ones, such as AIDS. There is the added problem of little being known about the effect of various kinds of sexually transmitted diseases on pregnant women and their babies. This is an extremely sensitive topic and doctors have to tread carefully. To begin with, not only does one have to countenance the fact that there are many variations of STDs but also that these can affect women and unborn children. There is also the fact that such an STD could be contracted by the woman before the pregnancy or possibly after conception. Furthermore, just having an STD does not necessarily mean that the child too would get it.

One should be able to appreciate that the effect that the STD of the mother will have on the baby is a complicated one and this matter is not so easily resolved. If one does have an STD, it would be important to have a doctor evaluate one's chances of a healthy pregnancy and properly weigh the pros and cons before any decision to become pregnant. It would help to not only speak to other women who have borne healthy children despite an STD but also to women who have had children affected in some way by the STD. This is because speaking to both sides of women with STDs is important in order to make an informed decision. There is also the problem of possible complications and danger to the unborn child on account of the STD carried by the mother even if the same is not passed onto the child. Low birth weight, premature termination of the pregnancy, underweight babies are just some of the many ways in which the baby might be affected whether or not the STD is passed onto him or her. There is also the fact that there are plenty of healthy pregnancies despite the presence of STDs. Some women can have perfectly normal pregnancies while bearing an STD without any additional medical assistance. In a number of cases, with the aid of proper nutrition, medication and rest, a healthy pregnancy could be possible despite serious STDs.

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