How To Detect & Treat Syphilis During Pregnancy?


Pregnancy is indeed a lifetime experience! With happy moments, some queries pops too in the mind of an expectant mom, which are usual and nothing to worry about.

Sexually transmitted diseases (STD) are a serious cause of concern, irrespective of whether you are pregnant or not. Syphilis is one of the STD’s. Answered here are a few of the major concerns that you might have about this disease.

What Is Syphilis?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that is caused by a bacterium called Treponemapallidum. It spreads from one person to another through physical contact. The disease can be transmitted to the baby through the placental exchange between mother and the baby.

Unlike most STDs, syphilis can also be transmitted through kissing, if you kiss someone who has a syphilis sore around the mouth.

Symptoms Of Syphilis:

The syphilis bacteria have an incubation time period of two weeks to three months.

  • The first symptom of the disease is the occurrence of chancre.
  • This is followed by slight
    fever, and formation of slight sores, mucous patches and skin eruptions and this happens when the syphilis progresses to the second stage.
  • At third stage is followed by gammas and cellular level impact of the disease.

Syphilis can be detected through a simple blood test. If your doctor suspects spread, she may recommend a spinal fluid test to see it spread in your body. Serological testing is another way to detect the disease.

How To Detect Syphilis During Pregnancy?

There are many simple tests and ways to detect syphilis during pregnancy.

  • You can screen syphilis in the first trimester using the non-treponemal tests like RPR-Rapid Plasma Reagin and Fluorescent Treponemal anti-body absorption.
  • If syphilis is detected, the doctor will prescribe the treatment based on symptoms and diagnosis.
  • If you are pregnant, get these tests done again during your third trimester to ensure safety.

Treatment Of Syphilis In Pregnancy:

If detected in time, syphilis can be cured using antibiotic like penicillin alone. Your doctor will prescribe treatment with penicillin or any other anti-biotic depending on the extent and level of spread of the disease.

Alternately, the medicinal course and treatment for syphilis in pregnancy will depend on your stage in pregnancy. Sometimes, there can be an untoward allergic reaction to medicines causing distress for the fetus and lead to premature contractions.

Impact Of Syphilis On Pregnancy:

If an STD like syphilis goes untreated, it can lead to bad impact on your baby and pregnancy altogether. The bacteria will transfer to your unborn baby through the placenta and the blood stream and even during delivery.

Impact On Your Baby:

Syphilis can lead to miscarriage and abortion; restrict the intrauterine growth of your baby.

  • The baby can have severe neurological problems.
  • The baby can also develop a large placenta, swelling might happen and at the same time liver and spleen may be enlarged.
  • Baby might also have lesions at all the openings on their body.
  • Syphilis if left undetected and untreated can lead to stillborn babies and in some cases, death in perinatal and at times lead to premature birth of your baby.

Impact On The Mother-To-Be:

Syphilis can lead to development of skin eruptions and sores.

  • If left untreated, it can come up again with a deep impact.
  • It can cause development of lesions on skin, bones, and even on the internal organs.
  • It can also infect the spinal cord and brain. The latter symptoms will happen in the final stages of tertiary syphilis, though and can also lead to death.

As you see from the facts above, syphilis can have an adverse impact on you as a mother and your baby, if it is not treated properly and in time. It is better to be proactive and get regular test to detect syphilis and treat it in time.

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