Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are also called sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs. STIs include chlamydia, gonorrhea, trichomoniasis, genital herpes, genital warts, HIV, and syphilis. Some STIs can pass from mother to baby during pregnancy and through breastfeeding.
STIs can cause many of the same health problems in pregnant women as in women who are not pregnant. But having an STI also can hurt the unborn baby's health.
Having an STI during pregnancy can cause:
Yes. Some STIs can be passed from a pregnant woman to the baby before and during the baby's birth.
The harmful effects to babies may include:
You can prevent some of the health problems caused by STIs and pregnancy with regular prenatal care. Your doctor will test you for STIs early in your pregnancy and again closer to childbirth, if needed.
You also can take steps to lower your risk of getting an STI during pregnancy.
Maybe. Some STIs affect breastfeeding, and some don't. The following are some general guidelines, but talk to your doctor, nurse, or a lactation consultant about the risk of passing the STI to your baby while breastfeeding:
If you are being treated for an STI, ask your doctor about the possible effects of the medicine on your breastfeeding baby. Most treatments for STIs are safe to take while breastfeeding.
For more information about STIs, pregnancy, and breastfeeding, call the OWH Helpline at 800-994-9662 or contact the following organizations:
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Page last updated: June 13, 2017.
Content last reviewed: March 25, 2014.