Syphilis is an STI that can cause serious health problems if left untreated. It’s possible to pass the infection to a baby during pregnancy, but effective treatment is available.
Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by bacteria. Effective treatment is available and important since syphilis can cause serious health problems if left untreated. It’s especially important to have treatment for syphilis if you are pregnant since the infection may be passed to your baby while in the womb.
This article will explore what can happen if you have syphilis and become pregnant, how this infection can affect you and your baby, and what treatments are available.
Syphilis can be passed to your baby during pregnancy. It can also contribute to the chance of complications during pregnancy, such as preterm labor or miscarriage.
First stage or primary syphilis
Second stage or secondary syphilis
- palms of your hands
- soles of your feet
- mouth sores
- swollen glands
- hair loss
- muscle aches
- weight loss
Inactive or latent stage
You may not have noticeable symptoms during this time, but the infection remains in your body. Symptoms can reappear later in life, and the infection could progress.
Late or tertiary stage
Without treatment, syphilis can move to the
- nerve problems
Symptoms of syphilis during pregnancy depend on the stage of the infection. If you were never diagnosed with syphilis and your symptoms cleared, you could be in the inactive stage with no noticeable symptoms at the time you become pregnant.
Syphilis can have severe and dangerous effects on an unborn baby, though, so syphilis testing at the start of pregnancy is important. Early testing can help identify latent and active infections that could put your baby at risk. In fact, this testing is so important that it’s
Syphilis infections cause symptoms in everyone, but for unborn babies, the effects of the disease can be catastrophic.
Some problems associated with a congenital syphilis infection can include:
Syphilis in pregnancy is treated with the antibiotic penicillin. The dose, timing, and duration of treatment depend on the stage of the disease at the time of diagnosis and how much time is left in the pregnancy before delivery. Treatment should be started at least 30 days before delivery.
Any sexual partners of individuals who receive a diagnosis of syphilis during pregnancy should
For people with penicillin allergies, other antibiotics like cephalosporin or amoxicillin may be used, but penicillin is the preferred choice, if possible.
Treated early and effectively, a syphilis infection can be
The same is true for babies. Babies who are born with congenital syphilis who are not effectively treated in the first
What happens if you have syphilis when you become pregnant?
If you have an active or inactive or latent syphilis infection when you become pregnant, the infection may be passed to your unborn baby. The
Will I test positive for syphilis forever?
When treated effectively, syphilis infections can be cured. If you recover from the early stages of the infection without treatment and remain in the latent phase, you can still test positive for syphilis, and you may develop another active infection later.
Is syphilis 100% curable?
Syphilis can be cured with the proper treatment, but treatment can’t undo any complications caused by the infection, such as blindness or nerve damage. Treatment and infection also won’t protect you from being infected again.
Should I be worried if I have syphilis?
Untreated syphilis can cause severe health problems and even death. It’s also a disease that is easily passed from parent to baby during pregnancy and can cause low birth weight, stillbirth, and miscarriage. Regular testing for STIs can help you get a quick diagnosis and fast treatment of syphilis and other STIs.
Syphilis is an STI with serious health consequences. Effective treatment can cure this infection, but even inactive infections can be passed to sexual partners and to babies while in the womb. Babies with prenatal syphilis infections can experience complications at birth or lifelong health problems if the infection is left untreated.
Talk with your healthcare team about regular testing for STIs and, if needed, what treatments are right for you.