When you’re pregnant, you’re focused on protecting your growing baby. One of the best ways to do this is by prioritizing your health — including addressing and treating any sexually transmitted infections (STIs) you may have.
At his private practice in White Plains and Queens, New York, women’s health specialist and board-certified OB/GYN Daniel S. Kushner, MD, offers screening and treatment for many common STIs, including highly contagious gonorrhea.
Gonorrhea can be difficult to diagnose because it doesn’t usually have noticeable symptoms — even when you’re pregnant. If you’re pregnant and worried about gonorrhea, take a moment to learn more about this common infection and how Dr. Kushner can help.
What is gonorrhea?
Gonorrhea is a bacterial infection that spreads during vaginal, oral, and anal sex. Without treatment, this sexually transmitted infection can affect your fertility and damage to your reproductive health. Fortunately, medication can treat the infection.
Because gonorrhea rarely has any obvious symptoms, getting a routine screening is a must. In cases when symptoms of gonorrhea become noticeable, they’re often confused with genitourinary problems like bladder infections. These symptoms may include:
- Swelling of the vulva
- Spotting or irregular bleeding
- Abdominal or pelvic pain
- Burning during urination
- Painful intercourse
- Bleeding or spotting after sex
While any sexually active person can get gonorrhea, the most often infected groups in the United States include young adults, sexually active teens, and Blacks.
Is it dangerous to have gonorrhea when pregnant?
If you’re positive for gonorrhea and you’re pregnant, it’s essential that you start treatment immediately. Gonorrhea has been linked to significant pregnancy issues, including:
- Premature birth
- Low birth weight
- Premature rupturing of membranes
- Chorioamnionitis (bacterial infection of the membranes and amniotic fluid)
It’s also possible to pass gonorrhea to your baby during childbirth. When this happens, your infant may develop serious infections, including upper respiratory infection, urethritis, vaginitis, scalp infections, blood infections, joint infections, brain and spinal cord inflammation, or eye infections.
Can you treat gonorrhea during pregnancy?
If you test positive for gonorrhea, Dr. Kushner can treat you with an antibiotic called ceftriaxone, which is safe to use while pregnant. Most women only need a single injection of this medication to eradicate the bacteria that causes gonorrhea.
Keep in mind that while the treatment kills the bacteria, it can’t fix any damage already caused. By having regular screenings when you’re pregnant, you can reduce the risk of any complications and catch problems, like gonorrhea, early, before larger issues set in.
If you’re worried about gonorrhea or any other STD, get screened by scheduling an appointment online or over the phone with the team at Daniel S. Kushner, MD.