Gonorrhea During Pregnancy: Risks and Complications

Gonorrhea During Pregnancy: Risks and Complications

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease which can be treated with antibiotics. When left untreated, gonorrhea can cause infertility because it may lead to a condition called pelvic inflammatory disease which causes scar tissue.

Thus, it is essential for all sexually active women to be routinely tested for this STD. Can having gonorrhea during pregnancy lead to any risks and complications? Here’s what all pregnant women should know about this STD and how it can affect their pregnancy.

Gonorrhea May Cause Pregnancy Complications

Gonorrhea which is left untreated during pregnancy has been linked to pregnancy complications. According to the National Women’s Health Information Center, there is an increased risk of miscarriage, preterm birth, and the water breaking too soon. These are all very serious pregnancy complications to be aware of.

Gonorrhea Can be Passed to the Baby During Birth

Another one of the potential risks associated with gonorrhea is the bacterial infection being passed to the baby during delivery. Blindness, an infection of the joints, and a deadly blood infection are all problems which can affect newborn babies due to a gonorrhea infection, according to the National Women’s Health Information Center. Note that blindness can be prevented by treating the eyes with medicine immediately after birth.

Prevent Gonorrhea From Affecting Your Pregnancy

Women who are unsure if they have gonorrhea or other STDs should be sure to get tested during pregnancy. Though many women with gonorrhea do not notice the signs, it is important to be aware of the symptoms. According to the National Women's Health Information Center, these include:

  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Painful sensation when urinating
  • Yellow or bloody vaginal discharge
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Vaginal bleeding in between periods

Once diagnosed with gonorrhea, it is important to take antibiotics until the infection goes away. Note that it is important for your sexual partner to also be treated for the STD or the infection may reoccur. If the gonorrhea infection has not been treated by the third trimester, it is ideal to ask your doctor about a cesarean delivery. This will help prevent the infection from being passed to the baby during birth.

Although gonorrhea is an STD which can be treated, it should never be taken lightly. If it is left untreated prior to pregnancy, it can lead to infertility. Gonorrhea can also cause serious pregnancy complications and may be passed to the baby during delivery. Any woman who is diagnosed with this STD should be sure to take antibiotics until the infection is gone.

Mark Riegel, MD

Latest Stories

Here’s what we've been up to recently.

Concerned about an STD?

Help stop the spread of STDs by knowing your status. Get tested today!