A lot of pregnant women don’t get tested for sexually transmitted diseases. But a lot of pregnant need to get tested for sexually transmitted diseases, according to just released Centers for Disease Control stats.
Out of some 1.3 million American women who had blood work during pregnancy, only 59 percent got tested for chlamydia, Reuters reports on the findings.
Obvs, when you’ve got a bun in the oven, your health doesn’t just impact you: chlamydia, as well as other STDs, can complicate pregnancies and get transmitted to newborns.
The CDC recs that all pregnant women get screened for chlamydia and gonorrhea, both of which can be symptomless. Testing stats for the latter, though, are just as disappointing: only 57 percent of of pregnant women in the U.S. said they were examined for this infection (though that proportion is higher in some age groups.)
Here’s what can happen if you don’t get tested: chlamydia can cause pneumonia in newborns “while gonorrhea can lead to joint infections.” They can also be super dangerous in the earliest stages of pregnancy. Both infections can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, sometimes prompting the fertilized egg to grow “outside the uterus.”
Some more potential problems, detailed by health authorities?
“The harmful effects of STDs in babies may include stillbirth (a baby that is born dead), low birth weight (less than five pounds), conjunctivitis (eye infection), pneumonia, neonatal sepsis (infection in the baby’s blood stream), neurologic damage, blindness, deafness, acute hepatitis, meningitis, chronic liver disease, and cirrhosis.”
Some 100,000 pregnant women in the U.S. test positive chlamydia annually. Around 13,000 have gonorrhea, the CDC notes. The organization says that women should also get tested for syphilis, hepatitis B, and HIV.
Since the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene has tended to take a very active role in all things bodily — from cigarette smoking to fatty foods to breastfeeding — the Voice wanted to see whether it’s doing anything to promote STD testing efforts in this community. We’ll update when we hear back.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on May 17, 2012