Please note: This information was current at the time of publication. But medical information is always changing, and some information given here may be out of date. For regularly updated information on a variety of health topics, please visit, the AAFP patient education website.

Information from Your Family Doctor

STIs in Pregnancy: Protecting Yourself and Your Baby


Am Fam Physician. 2007 Jul 15;76(2):272.

  See related article on STIs in pregnancy.

At the beginning of pregnancy, your doctor will test you for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that could hurt you or your baby. These tests are very important.

What tests will I have?

At the first visit, your doctor may do a Pap smear to check for cervical cancer and signs of human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. Your doctor may also test for chlamydia (kluh-MID-ee-uh) and gonorrhea (gah-nuh-REE-uh). These tests may be repeated near the end of your pregnancy.

Your blood will be tested for syphilis (SIFF-uh-liss), hepatitis B, and HIV (the virus that causes AIDS). The doctor will check your skin for signs of herpes.

Why do I need these tests?

You can have many of these infections without having symptoms. These infections can be passed on to your baby, and some of them can cause you to go into labor early.

What if I have an infection?

Chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis can be treated with antibiotics. Medicines can help keep your baby from getting herpes and HIV viruses. If you have hepatitis B, your baby can be given medicine at birth to keep him or her from getting the disease.

Your sex partner may also need to be treated for some infections (for example, chlamydia and gonorrhea) so you don't get the infection back. You should not have sex with your partner until your partner has been treated, too.

How can I protect myself?

The safest way is to have only one sex partner, and for your partner not to have sex with anyone else. Condoms give you some protection. You should always use condoms if you have more than one partner or if your partner may have other partners.

Where can I get more information?

Your doctor

American Social Health Association

Web site:

Telephone: 1–800–227–8922 or 1–919–361–8400

National Institutes of Health Medline Plus

Web site:

National Prevention Information Network

Web site:

Telephone: 1–800–458–5231

This handout is provided to you by your family doctor and the American Academy of Family Physicians. Other health-related information is available from the AAFP online at

This information provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. Talk to your family doctor to find out if this information applies to you and to get more information on this subject.


Copyright © 2007 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.
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