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    Chlamydia During Pregnancy: What Moms Need to Know

    Updated 03 February 2023 |
    Published 09 December 2019
    Fact Checked
    Reviewed by Tanya Tantry, MD, Obstetrician & Gynecologist, Medical Consultant at Flo
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    Getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) comes with more than just immediate symptoms. There is a real concern about chlamydia and pregnancy. 

    Can chlamydia affect pregnancy? The answer is yes, it can. So if you have this very common STI, you need to be prepared with the proper testing and treatment. We’ve gone into detail about pregnancy with chlamydia so you can get prepared and have a healthy pregnancy. 

    What is chlamydia?

    Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that can be passed during physical, oral, or anal sex. It can occur in the reproductive organs, in the mouth, urethra, and rectum. The most common place for this bacteria in women is the cervix. Chlamydia can also be passed from the mother to the baby during a vaginal delivery when the baby passes through the birth canal. When this happens, the baby can develop lung and eye infections. 

    Learn more about what chlamydia feels like.

    Chlamydia is the most common STI, with about 2 million cases in the U.S. reported to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) in 2018. It most commonly occurs in people between the ages of 15–24.

    Chlamydia is known as a “silent” infection. About 75% of women who are infected do not experience any symptoms, and about 50% of men don’t either. Because so few people who have chlamydia express symptoms, many of them don’t even know they have it. This means people who have it may not be getting treated for it and continue to pass it along. 

    Our bodies do not develop immunities against chlamydia, so if you catch it once and get treatment, you can get it again. 

    Chlamydia can also be passed from the mother to the baby during a vaginal delivery when the baby passes through the birth canal. When this happens, the baby can develop lung and eye infections.

    If a person has chlamydia, they can pass the infection along until they receive proper treatment. To treat chlamydia infection, specific antibiotics are prescribed. After receiving a diagnosis, the person is instructed not to have sex for seven days after receiving a single dose antibiotics or until they have completed a 7-day course of antibiotics. A person diagnosed with chlamydia should tell every anal, vaginal, or oral sex partner they had since 60 days before the onset of symptoms or diagnosis, so that they also get proper treatment. 

    Can chlamydia affect pregnancy?

    There are risks associated with pregnancy and chlamydia. If you have chlamydia while pregnant, you will be given treatment to cure the infection. If you’re treated for chlamydia but your partner did not receive treatment, you can be reinfected and will need to be retested and re-treated.

    The longer a person has untreated chlamydia during pregnancy, the worse the infection can become. This leads to complications of pregnancy like preterm labor, premature rupture of the membranes, and low birth weight — complications that can affect the health of your baby or make it difficult to get pregnant at all. It’s imperative to get treatment for chlamydia if pregnant.

    How can chlamydia affect pregnancy?

    So how can chlamydia affect pregnancy? When chlamydia is left untreated, it can turn into a severe