Last modified: August 2, 2019
Richard Honaker M.D.View Full Profile
Getting all your pregnancy sex tips when it comes to STDs and infections can be quite useful. Here’s our definitive guide to make health and wellness easier.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) there are around two million pregnant women who have STDs like herpes and chlamydia. Most actually have no clue that they even have these diseases.
If these were left untreated, the infection could harm both you and your unborn baby. But, there’s no reason for panic and mass hysteria.
Having yourself tested can enable you to take necessary steps to protect yourself and your baby. Here’s some information about the five most common STDs during pregnancy including the dangers, treatment, and even sex tips.
Herpes is one of the most well-known STDs out there. It is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). According to the American Social Health Association, around 25 to 30 percent of women in their pregnancy have the herpes virus. Only 5 to 10 percent though, have had active outbreaks of blisters or sores around the vaginal area and the buttocks.
Pregnancy Dangers: Although less than 0.1 percent of babies born in the US contract herpes, there are still those who do get the virus, and those who do, suffer severe conditions. Neonatal herpes can damage the central nervous system, cause mental retardation, and even cause death.
Your baby will be in even greater risk if you contract genital herpes during pregnancy. Since you are newly infected, you won’t have any antibodies to the virus, which the baby could not have for protection. And, if you have a first-time outbreak at delivery, the risk of transmission could go from 30 to 60 percent.
If you’ve never noticed any signs of herpes infection, then you don’t need to get tested. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists doesn’t recommend a routinary HSV screening for women while in pregnancy.
Most women who have tested positive for the virus don’t even know they have it because they had a very mild case, which never showed any symptoms. Women during pregnancy do not need to be alarmed unnecessarily since the risk of passing it to their baby is very low.
But, if your partner has herpes, you are recommended to take the blood test to find out if you have antibodies from a previous infection. If the result is negative, then usual sex tips suggest to use condoms throughout the pregnancy, and to abstain totally from sex if your partner is having an outbreak.
STDs Sex Tips: If you’ve had herpes outbreaks in the past, then get ready for another bout because around 75 percent of previously infected women experienced at least one recurrence during pregnancy. Consult your doctor if you need to try a suppressive treatment called valacyclovir during the last month of your pregnancy.
If you show no signs of an outbreak, then it’s safe for you to have a vaginal delivery. Sex tips also remind pregnant couples not to engage in sexual intercourse unless the doctor gives you the go signal.
Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)
BV is an imbalance of bacteria in your vagina. Out of the 5 common STDs, this is the most common vaginal infection for women who are in the childbearing age. According to the CDC, around 16 percent of women have BV during pregnancy.
Pregnancy Dangers: Having BV during pregnancy increases the risk for women to have a preterm labor and birth. A study last 2002 also found that women with BV during pregnancy are 20 percent more likely to suffer a miscarriage during their second trimester.
Experts do not recommend screening for all pregnant women unless they manifest clear symptoms like strong fishlike odor and/or a thin white or gray discharge. Treating women who don’t show any symptoms will not reduce their risk of premature delivery. But, women who had a history of prematurely giving birth should definitely be tested.
STDs Sex Tips: Take the oral form of the antibiotic metronidazole (Flagyl) for seven days straight. Sex tips also suggest for you to abstain from having sex to prevent reinfection.
Also on of the most well-known STDs, chlamydia is caused by the bacterium Chlamydia trachomatis. If left untreated, it can spread into the uterus or fallopian tubes, which can cause pelvic inflammatory diseases. As a result, a woman’s fertility is threatened.
According to the CDC, approximately 2.8 million Americans are infected with Chlamydia every year. That includes 200,000 women during pregnancy. What’s even scarier is around 75 percent of those infected pregnant women do not show symptoms like vaginal discharge or pain while urinating, so they have no idea that they are infected.
Pregnancy Dangers: Chlamydia can be passed to your baby during delivery, and as a result she can develop pneumonia. Be reminded that this can also be fatal for a newborn. The CDC suggests that all pregnant women should be screened for STDs like this during their first prenatal visit.
STDs Sex Tips: If you have it, then you and your partner will be given the antibiotic Zithromax. Sex tips also recommend that you should abstain from sex until both of you have completed the treatment, to make sure that both of you won’t get reinfected. You should also be tested again during your third trimester, to ascertain that you’re not infected during the delivery.
It is an infection caused by a single-celled parasite called Trichomonas vaginalis. Around 80,000 pregnant women are estimated to be affected with this parasite every year. Out of the common STDs, this is the most common STD among women.
Pregnancy Dangers: Infection during pregnancy is connected to a higher risk of premature delivery and to preterm premature rupture of the membranes (PPRM). It can also make you more vulnerable to other STDs like chlamydia and HIV, if you were exposed to them.
If you experience the symptoms of a yellowish, greenish, or grayish vaginal discharge that are usually accompanied by an unpleasant odor, then you should get tested. If not, then don’t. Treating STDs like this without manifesting any symptoms will not reduce your risk of preterm delivery in fact some evidence shows that it might even increase the risk.
STDs Sex Tips: You and your partner will be treated with Flagyl. Most men don’t have symptoms, so even if your partner doesn’t show any symptoms, he still needs to be treated to avoid getting reinfected by each other. Sex tips recommend that you should also abstain from sex until treatment has been completed by both.
Human Papillomavirus (HPV)
This is a genital infection caused by a group of viruses. HPV has around 100 different strains. More than 30 of those are sexually transmitted and can infect your vagina, cervix, butt, or your partner’s penis. Out of those 30, around 15 have been connected to cervical cancer, and two have been connected with genital warts.
HPV is the most common STD in the US. Around 75 percent of men and women have been infected at some point in their lives, but most don’t even know about it because they show no symptoms and the infection could clear up on its own.
Pregnancy Dangers: If you got the HPV type that’s connected to cervical cancer, there’s only a small chance of passing it to the baby or no risk at all. If you have genital warts though, they could grow faster during pregnancy because of the slight depression in your immune system. The risk to your baby is also small and usually, you can have a vaginal delivery.
You don’t have to get tested for HPV, but if you have ever had warts or had an abnormal Pap tell your doctor immediately so she can monitor your pregnancy closely. Sex tips also remind you to try not to have sex with your partner unless your doctor says it okay.
STDs Sex Tips: If you’ve had a history of abnormal Paps, your doctor will most likely monitor you closely with repeat smear every three to six months. If the results are still abnormal, a colposcopy will be performed to examine your cervix under a microscope.
Biopsies will also be performed from any suspicious areas. If you have precancerous or low grade cancer cells, your doctor will most likely wait until you’ve given birth before treatment will be administered. You will just be followed carefully with colposcopies. If the cancer that you have is more developed, you may need more invasive treatment like a surgery.
Your doctor will also most likely wait until after your pregnancy to treat your genital warts, unless they get very big. In that case, they may be removed either by laser or by surgery. According to experts, most of the time, warts will disappear on their own after giving birth and the woman’s immune system will also return to normal.
Other STDs Sex Tips for Common Infections During Pregnancy
Leukorrhea is a discharge composed of secretions from your cervix and vagina
Sex Tips Signs: An odorless or mild-smelling milky discharge
Pregnancy Course of Action: Tell your doctor about it on your next appointment. She may need to examine you to make sure other vaginal infections can be ruled out like BV. In suspicions of having a possible STD, sex tips always suggest to abstain from doing it with anyone. Prevent any further infection that could happen.
Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy is a rash that can develop in pregnant women, usually in the third trimester.
Sex Tips Signs: Itchy pimple-looking lesions on your butt
Pregnancy Course of Action: Show your rash to your doctor. She will most likely give you topical medications, such as steroid creams and/or antihistamine. If you are suspicious of having an STD, sex tips recommend to not have it unless you’re sure that you don’t have it. Don’t spread your illness to other people.
Yeast infection is a mild rash caused by vaginal swelling that occurs in pregnancy that is usually accompanied by a thick and cheesy discharge.
Sex Tips Signs: Vaginal itching and/or burning
Pregnancy Course of Action: Tell your doctor. She may still want to see you so she can rule STDs like trich or BV. She will most likely prescribe a topical cream or an over the counter medicine. Try wearing cotton underwear or soak once or twice a day in an oatmeal milk bath. It may give you relief from the itching or burning. Sex tips also suggest that you should avoid having sex while you’re not yet sure if you are sick or not.
Submitted by Dr. Richard Honaker: http://www.independentmedicalexaminer.com/IME-Directory/Virginia/Dr-Richard-A-Honaker-MD.asp
Disclaimer: This article provides general information and is not intended to diagnose, treat or cure any disease or medical condition. If you require specific advice, please consult one of our medical professionals through the app. However, in case of an emergency, please call 911.