Awareness is growing that testing for sexually transmitted disease is as much a necessity as any other protocol to be followed during a pregnancy. STDs can be transmitted to the baby and can further complicate the difficulties of the pregnancy. What makes testing necessary is that STDs either exhibit no symptoms, or symptoms which can easily be taken for other and more innocuous conditions. If nothing else, STD tests for pregnant women help instill peace of mind. And that too can be important to mothers as they endure all the other physical and emotional stresses of a pregnancy.
Over twenty types of sexually transmitted diseases are known to medical science. Each one causes one or more forms of danger to pregnant mothers. Testing has become more important as more research uncovers these risks. Since there has also been a resurgence in cases of Chlamydia and Gonorrhea in the last ten years or so, not getting tested is exceedingly unwise.
Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) comes in multiple strains, some of which trigger cervical cancer. Others cause genital warts swelling to such size that a normal delivery is not possible. For the baby, if the disease is passed on, tumors in the throat could develop, blocking the airway. Herpes, while uncurable, is treatable. But should there be an outbreak at the time of delivery, the baby could end up contracting the disease through the physical contact that would occur through passage out of the vagina. Gonorrhea usually shows no symptoms and is fortunately 100% curable through antibiotics. But if the baby should be exposed, complications from blindness to blood infection could result.
Syphilis has short-term external symptoms which disappear within weeks. It can lay silent in the body for months or even years while the disease steadily does its damage. In its terminal stages, the disease infects the brain, the heart, the eyes. At any time, syphilis can cause a mother to miscarry. Infection through the placenta is the usual consequence to the baby, which spreads the disease though every major organ. And then there the risks of HIV infection which mothers and physicians must be ever vigilant for.
With testing, the mother and her doctor can be alerted to the dangers. The sooner treatment begins, the greater the chance of delivering a fine, healthy child. So mothers should get the test just to be sure one way or the other.