Chlamydia Testing in Pregnancy & When Having an IUD Fitted

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Pregnancy or when having an intrauterine device (IUD) fitted are other situations where you may be asked to consider taking a test for Chlamydia or other sexually transmitted diseases. Normally an IUD is placed into the womb (or uterus) through the vagina to prevent pregnancy. If Chlamydia is present lower in the vagina and an IUD is fitted as a contraceptive the fitment may transfer the infection from the lower vagina to the cervix higher in the vagina and speed up the possible complications by introducing the infection into the womb and near the fallopian tubes. This can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease.

Chlamydia may cause an ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage and even early (premature) birth during pregnancy. During birth, the baby may also catch the infection as it travels through the vagina. The most vulnerable areas of the baby to infection are the eyes, ears, nose, throat and lungs. The baby’s eyes may become infected and conjunctivitis occurs. If the baby’s respiratory system is infected pneumonia of the newborn baby occurs. Symptoms will occur a few days after birth.

Treatment for babies having Chlamydia infection is Tetracycline eye ointment 4 times a day, after cleaning the infected area. Oral Erythromycin is the treatment for other areas of the body and Azithromyin may be used in children. Unfortunately children and babies who have this eye infection may develop another complication called Trachoma that causes swelling and redness of the eyelid. However children may not report symptoms of conjunctivitis as previously described and left untreated scarring of the eye, blindness, clouding of the eye and ulceration can occur. This may require surgery on the eyelid to prevent blindness and disturbance of vision in latter life. Trachoma is also easily treated with the antibiotics, Erythromycin and Doxycycline.

It is therefore important to take the screening tests offered during pregnancy; they will not harm the baby and are minimally invasive and painless. Chlamydia tests are the same for pregnant and non-pregnant females and are performed by taking urine samples or vaginal swabs as previously described.

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