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Complications 'rare' for pregnant women with STIs

Pregnant women with STIs should have a normal birth providing the “appropriate intervention” is carried out.

Chlamydia has been linked to preterm birth, low birth weight and an increased risk of complications in pregnancy.

Research, published in The Obstetrician & Gynaecologist, found up to 34% of pregnant women with chlamydia delivering vaginally would develop a bacterial infection following childbirth.

Furthermore, around 50% of babies born to women with untreated Chlamydia will develop neonatal conjunctivitis and around 15% will develop a chest infection.

The study led by Janet Wilson, Consultant in Genitourinary Medicine at the Leeds General Infirmary, recommends pregnant women receiving medication for chylamdia should be retested 5-6 weeks after the completion of treatment and have repeat screening in the third trimester.

The exposure to gonorrhoea in later pregnancy also brings complications.

The STI is associated with an increased risk of preterm rupture of membranes, preterm birth and low birth weight.

Researchers found gonorrhoea increases the risk of “severe” postpartum infections and doubles the risk of neonatal conjunctivitis.

The study recommends STIs in pregnancy be managed in conjunction with genitourinary medicine physicians, antimicrobial therapy, counselling, partner notification and safer sex advice.

“We are seeing more and more women in pregnancy with STIs,” said Wilson.

“However, women can be reassured that, with appropriate intervention, neonatal complications are still rare.”

Question: Are you seeing an increase of pregnant women with STIs coming into your practice? What care do you offer them?