The Terrifying Reason All Pregnant Women Should Get Tested for STIs

 

It seems kind of weird that you’d get tested for sexually-transmitted infections (STIs) when you’re pregnant, but that’s exactly what doctors are recommending now. Why? Certain STIs can be transferred to the baby if they’re left untreated—and can have serious repercussions.

“Some have more significant consequences…for the fetus or newborn than others, and these consequences may be seen at birth or shortly after or several months later,” says Shannon M. Clark, M.D., an associate professor of maternal-fetal medicine at the University of Texas Medical Branch and founder of BabiesAfter35.com.

Moms-to-be are tested for HIV, hepatitis B, syphilis, chlamydia, and sometimes gonorrhea when they start prenatal care, Dr. Clark says. They’re then tested again for HIV and syphilis (and sometimes gonorrhea and chlamydia) when they’re 32 to 36 weeks pregnant.

Dr. Clark explains why it’s so important for pregnant women to be tested, broken down by STI:

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