Chlamydia Treatment and Prevention in Pregnancy

Chlamydia Treatment and Prevention in Pregnancy: What Is Chlamydia?

Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted infection (STI) that affects both men and women. It’s most commonly spread through unprotected vaginal or penile contact with someone who has it. Most cases are not diagnosed until after the person has already been infected for some time, but if caught early, treatment can cure the infection completely.

The disease causes painful sores called “chancres” which may appear anywhere on the body, including the genitals. Chlamydia can cause infertility in women and even lead to death in those with compromised immune systems. However, treatment is available to prevent these complications from occurring.

Symptoms of Chlamydia During Pregnancy:

Painful sore throat or fever (fever due to other infections).

Nausea and vomiting.

Weight loss.

Abdominal pain.

How To Prevent Chlamydia During Pregnancy:

Use a latex barrier such as a male or female latex Condom for all vaginal, penile and Anal contact.

Limit your number of sexual partners.

Get tested before beginning a new relationship.

Seek medical help at the first sign of an outbreak.

Forget the old wives’ tale about pregnancy protecting you from STI’s.

Treatments for Chlamydia During Pregnancy:

Antibiotics alone are used to treat Chlamydia. Medication can be taken orally if your infection is detected early. It is important that you finish all of your medication to ensure that the infection is gone and will not re-occur.

Make sure you let your physician know if you are breastfeeding or if you are pregnant. Some medications are completely contraindicated during these conditions and your doctor will find the best treatment for you.

If you’re under the age of 25, your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic called Azithromycin or Z-Pak. This medication is known to cause temporary discoloration of urine and stool and can also result in nausea, diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal pain.

If you are over the age of 25, your physician will most likely prescribe an antibiotic called Doxycycline. This medication comes with a long list of side effects including nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, severe skin reactions and sun sensitivity. These effects are more pronounced in the gastrointestinal tract, skin and organs.

You can also have your doctor test you for other sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s) including Chlamydia, as these infections can all be treated simultaneously.

How To Prevent Chlamydia After Treatment For Chlamydia:

Practice safe-sexual habits. This includes using latex barriers such as condoms for vaginal, penile and Anal contact. Spermicides may also be used in addition to the latex barrier or by themselves.

Get tested regularly even if your partner has been treated, as you can be re-infected.

If you are experiencing symptoms, seek treatment right away.

Remember that some cases of Chlamydia are so mild that you may not have any symptoms at all. Be sure to get tested if you and your partner have been engaging in unprotected sexual contact with one another.

Normal Pregnancy After Chlamydia:

You can carry a baby to term even if you are infected with Chlamydia. There is no evidence that you will pass the infection on to your baby.

Diagnosing Chlamydia During Pregnancy:

Your physician may test for Chlamydia by performing a urine or genital swab. The baby can also be tested though a vaginal delivery or C-section if infected.

Treating Chlamydia In Newborns:

Immediately after birth, your newborn will be tested for Chlamydia. If infected, the baby will be given a prescription of eye ointment or an antibiotic to help treat the infection.

Your baby may also require treatment for a C-section incision if infected.

Red Measles (Rubella)

What It Is:

Red measles, also known as rubella, is a mild viral infection that can cause several complications if an infected mother passes the infection on to her unborn baby.

How It’s Spread:

The virus is primarily spread through coughing and sneezing. It can also be spread through direct contact with infectious surfaces and infected people.

What Symptoms To Look For:

The illness starts with a low fever, cough, runny nose, red itchy eyes and inflamed throat. After a few days, a child may experience a measles-like rash which often involves the ears. The rash begins on the face and neck and then quickly spreads to the trunk.

The rash fades in several days and then disappears in several more days.

How To Prevent Red Measles:

Get your children vaccinated! This is especially important if you’re planning on becoming pregnant. If you are unsure of your own vaccination history, get re-vaccinated.

Also, practice good hygiene habits such as frequent hand washing.

How To Treat Red Measles:

Most children recover from red measles without treatment.

Parvovirus (Parvo)

What It Is:

Parvovirus is a virus that attacks the intestines and can be fatal to dogs, cats, and other animals. It can also infect humans causing nausea, bloody diarrhea and severe dehydration.

How It’s Spread:

The virus is primarily spread through direct contact with an infected animal’s feces or contaminated objects like food, utensils or hands. It can also be spread through contact with an infected person.

What The Symptoms Are:

For animals, parvovirus causes severe bloody diarrhea and vomiting. Dogs, cats and other animals can become dehydrated within hours if not taken to the veterinarian for treatment. Some infected animals may go into a coma and die without immediate treatment.

There is no cure, but there are vaccines that can help prevent the virus.

For humans, the virus causes nausea, bloody diarrhea and vomiting. It can cause dehydration within a few hours and hospitalization is usually required. There is no cure, but supportive therapy can help maintain fluid levels until the virus has run its course.

How To Prevent Parvovirus:

There is currently no vaccine for people or animals. The best prevention is to make sure that your dog, cat or other pet has been vaccinated against Parvovirus.

Also, wash your hands after coming in contact with animals and always wash your hands before preparing or eating food.

How To Treat Parvo:

If you think you or your child might have been exposed to parvovirus, contact your physician immediately. Treatment usually involves supportive therapy at the hospital. This can include intravenous hydration to maintain fluid levels and electrolyte monitoring.

It’s also important that family members and anyone who has had contact with the infected person or animal is alert the physician if they begin to experience symptoms.

Influenza (flu)

What It Is:

The flu is a respiratory infection caused by the influenza virus. There are several types of influenza viruses including types A,B and C. Influenza viruses are categorized by the type of proteins they have on their surface.

There are 18 different types of these surface proteins (called antigens) and these groups are called H for human, N for North American Swine and others. In the U.S., the influenza virus is considered to be a type A virus. There are subtypes of type A influenza viruses and even reassorted versions of these viruses that can change from year to year.

What You Experience:

The flu often comes on suddenly and symptoms tend to develop quickly. Your body will experience fever, headache, dry cough, sore throat, runny nose, muscle aches and fatigue. In some cases you may also have vomiting and diarrhea.

It usually takes one to four days before you begin to feel sick. Most cases of the flu resolve within seven to ten days. While most people with the flu tend to be sick for the same length of time, they may have very different experiences. Some people may only experience mild symptoms, such as a cough or mild headache that resolves within three to four days. Other people however may experience more severe symptoms and require bed rest for seven to ten days. Some people may even develop life-threatening complications from the flu. This is more likely if you have a condition that weakens your immune system, such as HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), cancer, diabetes or lung disease. People over 65 years of age are also at greater risk of developing complications and requiring hospitalization for the flu.

The flu usually occurs in the fall and winter months, but can occur in the summer as well. The flu spreads easily from person to person. You can get the flu by breathing in tiny drops of water that contain the virus after someone with the flu sneezes or coughs.

These drops of water can land in your mouth, eyes, or nose when someone who is infected comes into close contact with you. You can also get the flu by coming into direct contact with infected bodily fluids such as stool, saliva or nasal mucus from an infected person. You can also become infected if you eat food that has been prepared with unwashed hands after the cook handled food that was prepared for someone with the flu.

What You Can Do About It:

The best way to prevent the flu is to get a seasonal vaccine each year. The vaccine tends to be most effective in preventing the flu if you receive it before flu season starts. The vaccine contains weakened forms of the three most common strains of flu that are expected to circulate that year.

The vaccine tends to be less effective against flu subtypes (types of influenza A) that the vaccine doesn’t include. The vaccine also tends to be about 60% effective in protecting people who receive it. This means that getting the vaccine can reduce the likelihood that you’ll get the flu, but it may not prevent it if you are exposed to a different strain.

If you have a medical condition that puts you at a higher risk of complications from the flu, you should talk to your doctor about further protective measures. Your doctor may advise you to limit your exposure to people with the flu by staying away from large crowds during flu season, for instance. You may be advised to get a flu vaccine even if you are otherwise healthy.

If you are in a high-risk group, you may want to talk to your doctor about receiving an influenza vaccination delivered through a needle-free injector.

You can take over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help with fever, aches and pains. You should also drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. Try to rest as much as possible.

Sources & references used in this article:

Chlamydia trachomatis infection during pregnancy by JA McGregor, JI French – American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, 1991 – ajog.org

An observational cohort study of Chlamydia trachomatis treatment in pregnancy by L Rahangdale, S Guerry, HM Bauer… – Sexually transmitted …, 2006 – journals.lww.com

Interventions for treating genital chlamydia trachomatis infection in pregnancy by P Brocklehurst, G Rooney – Cochrane Database of Systematic …, 1998 – cochranelibrary.com

Treatment of Chlamydia trachomatis Infections in Pregnant Women by JM Miller, DH Martin – Drugs, 2000 – Springer

Chlamydia trachomatis infection in pregnancy: the global challenge of preventing adverse pregnancy and infant outcomes in Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia by K Adachi, K Nielsen-Saines… – BioMed research …, 2016 – hindawi.com

Genital chlamydial infections by JF Peipert – New England Journal of Medicine, 2003 – Mass Medical Soc