Please note: This information was current at the time of publication but now may be out of date. This handout provides a general overview and may not apply to everyone. For regularly updated information on a variety of health topics, please visit familydoctor.org, the AAFP patient education website.

brand logo

Am Fam Physician. 2007;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

National Institutes of Health Medline Plus

National Prevention Information Network

Continue Reading


More in AFP

More in Pubmed

Copyright © 2007 by the American Academy of Family Physicians.

This content is owned by the AAFP. A person viewing it online may make one printout of the material and may use that printout only for his or her personal, non-commercial reference. This material may not otherwise be downloaded, copied, printed, stored, transmitted or reproduced in any medium, whether now known or later invented, except as authorized in writing by the AAFP.  See permissions for copyright questions and/or permission requests.