Trying to get pregnant should be the beginning of an exciting new chapter in your life. For many couples, however, this phase is linked to various worries. What if a pregnancy isn’t easy to achieve within a foreseeable timeframe? What if you’re opening yourself up to the risk of sexually transmitted infections?
To give yourself peace of mind, it’s essential to learn more about pregnancy and STDs. There are several important things to understand if your focus is on safe behaviours and having a child as soon as possible.
Get Tested for STDs Before You Start Trying
The first thing we’d like to recommend is getting tested for common STDs with your partner. A few reasons make a comprehensive screening panel an excellent idea for both of you.
For a start, you can calmly stop using barrier contraception if you get negative results.
Additionally, you can identify a potential problem before you’ve even started to try.
A number of sexually transmitted diseases can affect fertility in both men and women. These conditions are sneaky and they’ll go undiagnosed for long periods of time. Many people who have STDs wouldn’t exhibit symptoms until the disease-causing agent has contributed to extensive damage.
In men, certain STDs can have an effect on sperm count and motility. Conditions like gonorrhoea can also cause inflammation of the sperm ducts known as epididymitis. If such inflammation remains undetected for long periods of time, it can cause permanent scarring and reproductive problems.
Gonorrhoea, chlamydia and various other STDs increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease in women. This is another inflammatory condition that leads scarring and permanent damage. Women who have pelvic inflammatory disease may find it difficult to get pregnant. They also have a higher risk of miscarriages and ectopic pregnancies.
What to Do if You Have an STD
If your status is negative after having an STD screening, you can start trying to get pregnant immediately. But what if you find out that you have a certain STD?
While such news is going to be scary, it’s not the end of the world.
The good news is that most STDs can be resolved with an adequate treatment. Learning your status early enough also reduces the risk of having permanent reproductive damage.
It’s important to tell your doctor that you’re trying to get pregnant when getting a treatment plan for a sexually transmitted infection. Certain kinds of antibiotics and other STD medications aren’t suitable for pregnant women. Instead of those, you’ll be prescribed an alternative.
In the event of suffering from STD complications, you’ll probably need to see a fertility specialist. A doctor who specialises in reproductive medicine will assess the damage and give you a personalised course of action. Sometimes, a treatment or a small intervention may be required to address the damage that the STD has caused. The good news is that most of the time, people who have had an STD will move on to have children.
The Effect STDs Have on a Pregnancy
There’s one more scenario that needs to be discussed to paint a complete picture.
What should you do if you get pregnant and find out that you have an STD only after? That’s a plausible scenario for many people who feel ashamed about getting tested for sexually transmitted infections.
Needless to say, that’s not an optimal scenario. Being pregnant reduces the range of possible treatments for an STD. At the same time, many of the common conditions increase the risk of pregnancy complications.
The first thing you need to understand that having an STD during a pregnancy increases the risk of passing on the condition to the unborn child. This is the main reason why screenings for various kinds of STDs are often included during prenatal care appointments.
Chlamydia, for example, increases the risk of a baby being born with an eye infection or even pneumonia. Active herpes lesions during birth can pass on the condition to a baby, which is why such women are advised to have a C-section. A baby who is born when a mother has an active gonorrhoea infection is at high risk of eye, joint or blood infections.
There are safe antibiotics doctors can prescribe during a pregnancy. These will eliminate the STD and make it impossible for the condition to be passed to a baby. So, knowing your status is once again empowering (even if you get scared by the news at first).
It doesn’t matter what stage of life you’re entering right now. Whether you’re just becoming sexually active, you’re trying to get pregnant or you’ve been with a partner for decades, you need to undergo regular STD screening.
Knowledge is power. It gives you the opportunity to act fast and make the best decisions for yourself and the people you appreciate the most.
STD screening is readily available in Singapore and you really have no excuse to refrain from getting tested. Medical facilities like Shim Clinic provide access testing for the most common STDs. If you have questions, contact Shim Clinic now or visit us during working hours every day of the week.