Chlamydia is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United States and many other developed countries. Three million Americans are infected with Chlamydia each year. Many women do not know that have been infected with chlamydia because the disease often shows no symptoms. But when left untreated, it can lead to serious complications, including ectopic pregnancies and pelvic inflammatory disease which can, in turn, cause infertility. What if you are pregnant and discover that you have a chlamydia infection? What are the possible complications of chlamydia in pregnancy, for the mother and the baby?
A few studies into the topic of chlamydia and pregnancy have found links to higher miscarriage rates and chlamydia infections, preterm labor or low birth-weight babies. But other studies deny any such link. What is certain is that untreated chlamydia infections can be passed on to a baby during childbirth. For the baby, this can lead to a nasty eye infection that can cause scarring and blindness if untreated. Babies that got chlamydia at birth can also develop pneumonia, something that usually manifests a few weeks after birth. Thankfully, treating chlamydia is extremely straightforward. Men, and women who are not pregnant or nursing, normally get a prescription for heavy antibiotics, either taken orally or as an injection. Pregnant women and nursing mothers are not able to take those, and get lighter antibiotics instead. If you have been diagnosed with chlamydia, you will probably start taking amoxicillin. It is important to be tested again a few weeks after you finish your course of antibiotics so that you can either get the all-clear or go through another course of pills.
We'd urge anybody who wants to try to conceive a baby to go through STD testing before getting pregnant, to avoid risking your fetus and having the stress of treatment during pregnancy. It's not just chlamydia that needs to be tested for, but a whole range of STDs. Take a look at our article "Is genital herpes dangerous for the baby?" to see what can happens if you suffer from another sexually transmitted disease in pregnancy. Nobody is immune from STDs, and there is no shame in having one. It is of crucial importance to receive proper treatment, though!