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How Should You Prepare for STDs in Pregnancy?

A pregnant woman sitting down and holding her belly

If you’re wanting to start a family, you must mitigate risks of complications caused by STDs in pregnancy. In this blog, we outline the STDs that could potentially harm your baby, and the steps you can take to ensure a safe pregnancy. 

Should you get an STD test to prepare for pregnancy? Yes, you should get an STD test before pregnancy. Some STDs, such as HIV, can be passed to the baby during pregnancy or birth, and can cause health problems for a newborn. STDs can be diagnosed and treated, where possible, to lower the risk of transmission and further complications. 

Read on to find out more about STD testing and management during pregnancy.

Why is it Important to Have an STD Test Before Pregnancy?

Not only does STD screening before pregnancy protect the health of you, your partner, and your baby, but there are a number of other benefits, including:

  • Peace of mind during pregnancy
  • Treatment being more effective when taken early
  • Protection of your fertility and general health
  • Increased trust between you and your partner

You and your partner could go for a full screening, to reduce the chance of symptomless STDs being transmitted later down the line. Read more about the dangers of STDs to newborns below.

Which STDs During Pregnancy are Dangerous?

Read our list below to find out which STDs in pregnancy could potentially negatively impact you and your developing baby.


If not treated early on in pregnancy, syphilis can be dangerous to a fetus. The infection can be linked to miscarriage, premature birth, stillbirth, and even neonatal death in some cases. Syphilis is usually passed on during pregnancy, but can also be passed on during birth if the baby comes into contact with an open sore. 


During pregnancy, HIV can be passed onto the baby via the placenta. The virus can also be passed on during birth and while breastfeeding. HIV can cause many symptoms in infants including failure to thrive, serious infections, and meningitis., 


If you have genital herpes during pregnancy, there is a risk that this could be passed on to your child, which could lead to neonatal herpes. Neonatal herpes can be fatal in the worst cases, but generally, it just affects the eyes, nose, and mouth. Neonatal herpes It affects about 1 in 5,000 live births. 


Untreated chlamydial infections can cause several complications during and after pregnancy. Chlamydia could cause preterm labor and low birth weight. If you have untreated chlamydia during childbirth, you could cause the baby to develop an eye infection (conjunctivitis) or pneumonia.

Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B can be passed from mother to baby during birth. Without vaccination, babies can develop a chronic Hepatitis B infection. This can cause serious damage to the liver later on in life, and also risk passing on the virus to others. Women with Hepatitis B also risk premature delivery. 


Gonorrhea can be passed from mother to child during vaginal delivery. Babies can develop several infections including vaginitis, scalp infections, urethritis, and serious eye infections. In serious cases, eye infections can cause permanent blindness.

Can I Have a Baby With an STD? 

If you have an incurable STI, such as herpes or HIV, you can still have a baby if the necessary precautions are taken to protect the baby from infection. The risk of passing on your STD to your baby won’t be zero, but medication and alternative birth methods can be implemented to reduce the risk of transmission. 

For STIs that can be treated, we’d recommend getting advice from your healthcare provider on the best steps to take to clear the STD. Some infections, such as chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhea can all be treated and cured with antibiotics that are safe to take while pregnant.