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Syphilis in Pregnant Women

In pregnant women, syphilis can be extremely harmful to the unborn child. Pregnant women can pass the infection to their babies during pregnancy and childbirth, and untreated syphilis may result in miscarriages, premature births, and stillbirths. Because of the serious complications presented by syphilis, all women who are expecting should be tested for the disease.

Pregnant Women and Syphilis: An Overview

Women can pass syphilis to their babies during pregnancy and childbirth. Untreated syphilis results in a high risk of a bad outcome of the pregnancy. Therefore, if you are pregnant, you should be tested for this disease.
Pregnant women with syphilis are treated right away with penicillin. For women who are allergic to penicillin, there is no alternative medicine that has proven an effective treatment. Penicillin will prevent passing syphilis to the baby, although treatment during the second half of pregnancy may not eliminate the risk for premature labor and fetal distress.

Risks of Syphilis in Pregnant Women

Syphilis in pregnant women can cause:
  • Miscarriages
  • Premature births
  • Stillbirths
  • Death of newborn babies.
The risk of a mother transmitting the disease to her unborn baby during pregnancy declines with time, but continues during latent syphilis. To prevent congenital syphilis, all pregnant women should be tested for the disease.

The Impact on Infants

Some infants with congenital syphilis have symptoms at birth, but most develop syphilis symptoms later. Babies born with this disease may develop:
  • Skin sores
  • Rashes
  • Fever
  • Jaundice (yellow skin)
  • Anemia (a blood problem)
  • Swollen liver and spleen
  • Developmental delay
  • Seizures
  • Death.
In rare cases, the symptoms go unseen in infants so that they develop late-stage syphilis, which causes damage to:
  • Bones
  • Teeth
  • Eyes
  • Ears
  • Brain.

Info About Syphilis

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