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CHLAMYDIA IN PREGNANCY

 

Chlamydia is known to cause infection of the fallopian tubes, blocking them and therefore preventing fertilization. In the long run, if the damage done to the fallopian tubes is substantial, Chlamydia may bring about infertility. In other cases, the scarring of the fallopian tubes is not at the greatest extent possible and fertilization of the ovum may occur. However, there exists a high potential for ectopic pregnancy – pregnancy taking place outside of the uterus. The fertilized egg places itself in the fallopian tubes in almost 98 % of the cases (in the remaining cases, the fertilized egg is implemented in the ovaries, the cervix or even the abdomen), which is why pregnancy ends in an induced or spontaneous miscarriage. The outcome of future pregnancies remains uncertain.

However, should Chlamydia not to do any damage on the female reproductive system and the infected woman succeeds in sustaining a normal pregnancy, it is likely that the disease will cause premature delivery or infection of the uterus following the child birth. Certain studies have dealt with the issue whether Chlamydia in pregnancy caused miscarriage, but no conclusive evidence has been reached and presently, it is considered that the relation among the two is non-existent.


Transmission of Chlamydia bacteria takes place during pregnancy or child birth – in the majority of cases. It is worth mentioning that the transmission may occur both during vaginal child birth and a caesarian section. The mother is often unaware of the symptoms, since they may be non-existent or mild or chooses to neglect them and in turn, transmits Chlamydia to the child.

Chlamydia in pregnancy sparks a wide range of issues in the infected child. Predominantly, eye infection – conjunctivitis occurs as a result of exposure in 50 % of newborns. Conjunctivitis is characterized by swollen eyes, eye discharge and redness and if left untreated, may lead to blindness. Newborns affected by Chlamydia may develop pneumonia within 3 – 6 weeks after child birth. Pneumonia is characterized by persistent coughing, experiencing difficulty in breathing and chest pain. Both conditions may be successfully treated with appropriate antibiotics.
However, due to the numerous consequences of untreated Chlamydia in pregnancy, nothing should be left to chance and mothers should undergo tests detecting Chlamydia. Along with sexually active adults under 25 years of age, women and men belonging to high risk groups, mothers are considered the target group for Chlamydia testing. As part of prenatal care, mothers are expected to undergo tests. Should the results be positive, retesting is required.

Fortunately, there are treatment options for pregnant women, which do no harm both to the mother and the baby. In general, pregnant women should not take doxycycline, ofloxacin, or levofloxacin, but azithromycin is considered to be both safe and effective. Follow-up tests are required following the treatment.



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