Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) or Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) are diseases that can severely affect pregnant women and their foetuses, if left untreated. The good news is that most of these infections can be treated. Mothers-to-be to should get themselves clinically tested for potential symptoms. Here is a compilation of 6 diseases to get tested for:

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

The HIV virus can be dormant for several years in the body, before being discovered as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). If a mother is detected with HIV, a procedure known as highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) is administered, in order to reduce the chances of the virus affecting the foetus to less than 2%.

Gonorrhoea

It is caused by the bacteria Neisseria Gonorrhoeae. Women with this infection can experience vaginal discharge, severe burning during urination, bleeding after sex and bleeding between periods. If left ignored, it could potentially lead to Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, an ectopic pregnancy (where the foetus grows outside the uterus) or infertility.

Syphilis

This disease involves three stages: the first involving the formation of an ulcer, the second leading to swollen lymph nodes and the third including problems pertaining to the heart as well as the brain. It can also increase the risk of death. This condition in pregnant women has been linked to miscarriages and premature births. Babies born as a result of this condition are likely to experience organ failure and even death.

Hepatitis B

It is an infectious disease that affects the liver, which can be acute or chronic in nature. Pregnant women need to be watchful of this disease. It can lead to jaundice, dark urine, fatigue, vomiting and extreme abdominal pain. A pregnant woman diagnosed with this condition has a 40% chance of passing it on to her unborn baby.

Chlamydia

This can lead to pre-term labour, membrane breakage and low foetal weight. If untreated, it can be passed on to the child.

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