I’m Pregnant: Do I need to be tested for STDs?

If you’re experiencing an unexpected pregnancy, getting tested for STDs might be the last thing on your mind. However, one of the most important things you can do to protect your health when pregnant is to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). This is also true if you are considering having an abortion. 

STDs, also referred to as STIs (sexually transmitted infections), are common, especially if you or your partner have had sex with multiple partners. Many STDs do not show symptoms, but some can be treated if caught early on. If you are pregnant, one of the first things you should do is get tested for STDs.

Our medical team can help connect you to the resources you need to get a full panel of STD testing.

Why is getting tested for STDs while pregnant important? 

If you are pregnant, it is crucial to be tested for STDs, as STDs can be a major health risk to you and the baby. Since many STDs show no symptoms, the best way to know if you have one is to get tested. 

Untreated STDs in pregnant women can lead to:  

  • Miscarriage 
  • Low birth weight 
  • Premature births 
  • Stillbirths 
  • Infertility 
  • Pelvic pain 
  • Increased risk for an ectopic pregnancy 
  • Cervical cancer 
  • Health complications that affect the baby (read more below) 

If you are considering an abortion, it is just as important to get tested.

What if I’m considering an abortion?

Women with untreated STDs (like chlamydia or gonorrhea) have an increased risk of developing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). This includes untreated STDs before having an abortion. PID can cause lifelong damage to your reproductive organs and lead to future ectopic pregnancies or infertility. 

Before you schedule an abortion, schedule a free pregnancy consultation to ensure your health is protected. Our advocates can help walk you through all your pregnancy options and our medical team will help you confirm that you have a viable pregnancy through an ultrasound and actually need an abortion. 

If you are pregnant and at risk of STDs, our medical team can help connect you to the resources you need to get a full panel of STD testing.    

What STDs should I be tested for?

The CDC recommends all pregnant women to be tested early in pregnancy for:  

  • Syphilis 
  • HIV 
  • Hepatitis B 
  • Hepatitis C  
  • Chlamydia 
  • Gonorrhea 
  • Trichomoniasis  

At Care Net we provide free STD testing and treatment in select centers for three of the most common infections: gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis and offer referrals through the Health Department for additional testing needed. Referrals can be given for your partner to be tested and treated as well. 

Can I pass my STD to my baby?

Yes, some STDs can be passed to the baby before and during birth. Some of these effects may be first noticed at birth, while some may take months or years to be seen. Harmful risks to the baby may include: 

  • Low birth weight (less than 5 pounds) 
  • Eye infection 
  • Pneumonia 
  • Infection in the baby’s blood 
  • Brain damage 
  • Lack of coordination in body movements 
  • Blindness 
  • Deafness 
  • Acute hepatitis 
  • Meningitis 
  • Chronic liver disease, which can lead to scarring of the liver (cirrhosis) 
  • Stillbirth 

 Most of these problems can be prevented if you are treated early and receive regular medical care during pregnancy.

Can I get treated for STDs while pregnant?

It depends. STDs caused by bacteria can be easily treated with antibiotics that are safe to take during pregnancy. STDs caused by viruses like genital herpes, hepatitis B, or HIV cannot be cured. However, these infections can sometimes be treated with antiviral medications or preventative measures to reduce the risk of passing the infection to the baby.

Where can I find STD testing near me?

At Care Net of Puget Sound, we offer free limited STD/STI testing for women. Availability varies by provider and location. We work in collaboration with the Health Department and refer our patients to them for additional STD screenings when needed. 

For your health and safety, it is important you receive a full panel STD testing, especially before proceeding with an abortion. At your appointment with us we will give you the information necessary to make sure you receive proper STD testing with another trusted provider. We also advise you to request HCG blood draws to determine your RH factor. 

We offer a non-judgmental space for you to ask our licensed medical professionals any questions you might have. All test results and treatments remain confidential. We care about you and your health. 

Contact us today to request a free STD testing appointment. 

STD testing and treatment available in select centers. Please check our website to find a location.

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