Teenage Pregnancy and STDs

Teenage pregnancy and STDs is a dangerous combination. Unprotected sex can lead to cases of unwanted pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases in teens. Contracting an STD while pregnant is dangerous for both the mother and the baby. This article takes a look at the dangers of  teenage pregnancy and STDs.

Teens who are not practicing safe sex with the  use of a condom or birth control face increased risks of pregnancy, sexually transmitted disease or both. Contracting an STD while pregnant can result in serious complications in pregnancy and even sometimes death for both the mother and baby. STDs like genital herpes and bacterial vaginosis are commonly found in pregnant women and teens in the United States. It is reported that there are nearly 1 million women in the U.S. who are pregnant and have at least one STD infection, according to the Women’s Health Resource. A pregnant woman or teen will be screened for some STDs at the initial checkup. This way, the doctor can determine if there is an STD and can quickly treat it to avoid as much damage to the baby and mother as possible. If the pregnant woman continues to have sex with someone or multiple partners who may have an STD during her pregnancy, it is important to continue being screened for STDs to help exposure to the fetus. Early determination of an STD is the best way to prevent serious complications in the pregnancy. Keep in mind that some STDs take a while to show symptoms, so even if you think you don’t have one, get checked anyway if you feel you may have been exposed. This is the best way to protect yourself and your baby. 

How teenage pregnancy and STDs can affect a teen and her baby:

  • STDs can be transferred to from the mother to her baby before, during or after the baby’s birth. Some STDs like Syphilis can be transferred through the placenta to the baby and infect the fetus while it is still in the uterus. There are also some STDs like Chlamydia and genital herpes that can be passed to the baby during delivery. Other STDs can also be passed to the baby during breastfeeding. 
  • If infected throughout the course of the teenage pregnancy, the pregnancy can result in premature delivery, still birth or low birth weight of the baby
  • The baby can also suffer from: conjunctivitis, pneumonia, neonatal sepsis (infection in the baby’s bloodstream,) neurologic damage, blindness, deafness, acute hepatitis, meningitis, chronic liver disease or cirrhosis.

Most problems encountered during a teenage pregnancy where the mother has an STD can be handled or prevented only with frequent prenatal care, which begins with routine STD testing throughout the pregnancy. The delivery of the baby is usually done via cesarean section in cases where the mother has an STD to prevent infection of the baby that could occur during normal delivery through the vagina.

STD Symptoms:

  • Open sores or legions in, on or around the mouth, anus, penis or vagina
  • Swelling or skin rash with severe itching
  • Painful urination or intercourse
  • Stomach pain 
  • Vaginal bleeding

STD Prevention

  • It is important for teenagers to remember that even if you are a pregnant teen, unprotected sex can still lead to contracting an STD. 
  • Continuing to have sex with the use of a latex condom is an essential to staying free and clear of STDs.
  • If you do have unprotected sex during pregnancy, make sure it is with a partner who has also been tested for STDs, and who only has sex with you. 
  • Remember, abstaining from teen sex is the only 100 percent positive way to avoid contracting an STD while pregnant or otherwise. 

How to avoid spreading an STD while pregnant:

  • Do not have sex unless your doctor tells you it is okay.
  • Continue to use a condom every time.
  • Undergo treatment for your STD.
  • Make sure your partner or partners are also undergoing STD treatment if they also carry the disease or infection.
  • Continually get checked and rechecked for STDs. 

Remember, it is important to discuss teenage pregnancy and STDs with parents, a trusted adult or a health care provider. Learning more about the risks of STDs while pregnant is the best way to treat the infection and prevent damage to the fetus or baby as well as the pregnant teen. 

Sources: http://www.wdxcyber.com, WebMD.com, www.cdc.gov