Trichomoniasis And Pregnancy

February 23, 2010

Commonly referred to as "trich", the STD trichomoniasis, is caused by a microscopic parasite. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 7 million Americans, including 124,000 pregnant women, will contract the disease every year.

Trich is often latent in the body and symptoms may not be evident. If they do appear, they could start soon after the infection is passed or it may take months before they are evident. If, after testing, a diagnosis is made for trich, it does not necessarily mean the infection was recently contracted.

Symptoms Of Trich

The symptoms of trich are a vaginal discharge that is greenish or yellow, foamy in appearance and it has a foul odor. The vagina and vulva may be red, irritated and itchy. Intercourse and urination may both be painful or uncomfortable and there may be some blood spotting after intercourse. A less common symptom is lower abdominal pain, which could indicate an infection in the bladder or urethra. If symptoms are present, advising the medical practitioner is important so the necessary tests can be run to expose any other STDs. The test for trich is by vaginal swab and examination of vaginal fluid under a microscope.

Impact Of Trich On Pregnancy

The impact of trichomoniasis during pregnancy is associated with the higher risk of premature rupture of the membranes (PROM) and preterm birth. Low-birth-weight babies are also a result of trich during pregnancy. If trich is present, there is a higher likelihood of contracting HIV if exposed to the virus. On rare occasions, a baby may be infected with the parasite during delivery. However, the infection can be treated with antibiotics.

A pregnant woman is not usually tested for trich as part of the prenatal STD testing. To date there does not appear to be any evidence to support treatment lowering complications for pregnant women. In fact, in some cases, it may heighten the risk of preterm birth. Because of this, women who experience symptoms that are particularly bothersome are treated and others are left until after the birth of their babies.

Diagnosis And Treatment

If there is a diagnosis of trich in a pregnant woman, then the usual treatment is a course of metronidazole, a high powered antibiotic that has been considered safe for an unborn baby. It is good sense to have both partners in the relationship tested and treated at the same time, whether symptoms are present or not. Most men do not have symptoms with trich. After treatment, it is important to abstain from intercourse until both partners are free of symptoms and the treatment is completed. If this tact is not taken, there is a good chance of reinfection.

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