Chlamydia and Pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Chlamydia check-ups are a part and parcel of pregnancy. Why do most women receive a chlamydia check-up for the very first time in their lives during pregnancy? Chlamydia affects your fetus too, so you might want to look at the symptoms, risks, and treatment methods.

Chlamydia and pregnancy: What is chlamydia?

woman chlamydia

Chlamydia is caused by a bacteria known as the chlamydia trachomatis and is a prevalent sexually transmitted infection (STIs). Chlamydia, along with gonorrhea, syphilis, and trichomoniasis, make up the 357 million new infections acquired by people around the world every year.1 

As chlamydia is an STI, it passes from one person to another through sexual intercourse. The signs and symptoms of chlamydial infection are few, so you could catch or pass it without even realizing it. With about 131 million new cases of chlamydia each year, more people, especially the young, are getting infected.1 

Signs of chlamydia during pregnancy

pregnant woman hospital doctor

Chlamydial infection in women is usually characterized by the change in vaginal discharge to a clear, thin, and whitish shade. However, as changes in the vaginal discharge isn’t necessarily only caused by chlamydia, it’s near-impossible trying to tell if you got chlamydia during pregnancy. Another symptom you might experience if you have chlamydia is pain during urination.

About 60% of the women who caught chlamydia had no symptoms whatsoever. As this is usually the case in chlamydia, there is no other way to find out except through a check. Chlamydia during pregnancy can affect both mother and fetus negatively, so you might want to get checked in the first trimester of pregnancy.

How does chlamydia during pregnancy affect the baby?

pregnant woman belly

If you catch chlamydia during pregnancy, chlamydial infection might reach the amnion (amniotic sac) and cause waters to break early. Especially in the early stage of pregnancy, the risk of a pregnancy loss increases, so expeditious treatment is necessary. Being infected and not receiving treatment can cause the baby to be infected with neonatal gonococcal conjunctivitis or pneumonia when they pass through the birth canal. In serious cases, the baby might even die. Don’t take this lightly and make sure you get yourself checked for and cured of chlamydia!

Treatment for chlamydia during pregnancy

pregnant woman medicine

Chlamydia is curable with an effective, single-dose of antibiotics that is also safe for use during pregnancy. As is the case with all antibiotics, you must finish all your medicine as directed by your doctor even when you think you’re completely cured of chlamydia. Chlamydia usually affects the partner as well, so there is a need to make sure your partner is completely cured as well.

Getting a chlamydia checkup early during pregnancy

couple on the sofa

Routine tests for chlamydia in early pregnancy are, as a norm, carried out on pregnant women. However, it’s never a bad idea to be prepared and on the alert for changes in your vaginal discharge that could signal you’re infected with chlamydia even before you get pregnant. STIs are sensitive issues that you might not want to broach with your partner, but make sure you’re frank with your partner – it affects the both of you and the baby as well!