do you get tested for Chlamydia when pregnant?
Tests & Procedures, Women

Do you Get Tested For Chlamydia When Pregnant?

Pregnancy is a beautiful stage in any woman’s life. However, such a journey of pregnancy might not always be a smooth ride. There might be a lot of challenges, hiccups, and roadblocks in such a path. Among all challenges, one of the tricky challenges is getting infected with an STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) such as Chlamydia. However, in the normal conscience, it is important to understand whether one should get tested for Chlamydia when pregnant?

What Is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is the most commonly transmitted Sexually transmitted disease in the USA. The most common side-effect of this disease is reported to be infertility among young women. Some of the consequences of leaving the disease Chlamydia untreated include painful consequences such as:

  • Developing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) which in turn is one of the major cause of infertility, tubal (or ectopic) pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain
  • Making an individual prone to contract an HIV infection
  • In case of Chlamydia infection is contracted during pregnancy, such infection can be transmitted to the unborn fetus which can also result in harm or even death of the newborn baby.

Given the last choice, it is advisable not to get involved with multiple sexual partners during pregnancy and at least using condoms or other prevention techniques even if getting involved in such sexual acts with even one partner.

Should You Get Tested For Chlamydia When Pregnant?

STI or Sexually Transmitted Infection which causes STD or Sexually Transmitted Diseases during pregnancy can pose serious risk and threat for both the mother and the unborn fetus (baby). That is the primary reason why pregnant mothers need to undergo screening or tests for detecting various sexually transmitted infections such as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Hepatitis B, Chlamydia, and Syphilis. Doctors check for Sexually Transmitted Diseases when any women are pregnant to find out whether the pregnancy is risky in some way or the other.

Generally, screening for sexually transmitted infections such as Chlamydia test is conducted for any pregnant woman during the very first prenatal visit to the doctor. In fact, these tests are so important that even if the woman has undergone screening tests for such sexually transmitted infections previously, they are supposed to undergo such screening tests for Chlamydia and other such infections at the start of the pregnancy.

Further, it is also advisable that the pregnant woman should be open in disclosing any symptoms of Chlamydia (if she is facing any) during her pregnancy such as any discomfort during urination, inflammation around the cervix, spotting, increased discharge from the vagina, or any other problem that the woman is facing, though most of the times Chlamydia-infected women complain of no symptoms. The woman should also truthfully share in case she has engaged into any high-risk sexual activity during conceiving or post-conception so that immediate precautions can be taken.

Since the infection of Chlamydia creeps within the body of a young woman so silently (without giving warning symptoms in the majority of the cases), it becomes even more important to get specific Chlamydia screening done at the very start of the journey of pregnancy. This is all the more required since Chlamydia infection detected during pregnancy has been found to cause various repercussions such as:

  • Preterm labour
  • Infection of the amniotic sac and fluid
  • Premature rupture of the membranes
  • Low birth weight of the baby
  • Increased risk of miscarriage
  • Becoming more susceptible to infections such as HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and PID ()
  • Uterine infection
  • Passing on the infection of Chlamydia to the baby during normal vaginal delivery
  • 25 to 50 percent of the babies born to mother with Chlamydia infection have a risk of developing an eye infection (commonly known as conjunctivitis) merely a few days to a few weeks after birth
  • 5 to 30 percent of the babies who contract Chlamydia during delivery (mostly vaginal delivery though it can also be contracted through c-sec delivery) have a risk of developing pneumonia within a few weeks to several months after birth.

Chlamydia screening can be easily done by sending either a swab from the vagina or cervix of the woman. Such tests can also be conducted through laboratory analysis conducted on the urine specimen of the woman.

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted infection which can be treated easily by a thorough antibiotic treatment schedule. Thus, such infections can be easily prevented if screened at the right time. The pregnant woman, thus, without hesitation should approach her gynecologist and openly asks the doctor to screen her for Sexually Transmitted Infection such as Chlamydia. In case of any doubt about the screening test, the pregnant woman should feel free to ask the doctor whether it is required to get tested for Chlamydia when pregnant.

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Bharti Talreja (MBBS, DPM, FAGE, MIPS)Dr. Bharti Talreja is a Psychiatrist practising in Botad, India.