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  Sexually transmitted diseases - Chlamydia
I can’t believe I tested positive for Chlamydia because I have no symptoms at all. What are the risks to my baby?

Since approximately half of the women who are infected with Chlamydia do not have any symptoms, your situation is not surprising.

Risks to your baby
- Eye infection (conjunctivitis)
- Blindness
- Pneumonia

Chlamydia is one of the infections that is passed onto your foetus. However, the good news is that the antibiotic that clears up your infection should also treat your baby, and prevent any problems that may arise. The baby’s eyes are the part most likely to be affected. For this reason, as with gonorrhoea, the baby will probably receive antibiotic eye cream at birth. As in all STD infections, your partner should be tested and treated to prevent re-infection.

The further good news is that chlamydia is totally curable with oral antibiotics, and should clear up in about a week. Abstain from sex for at least 7 days until you have completed all your medicine, and do not stop taking the antibiotics, even if you feel better.

Complications of chlamydia
If left untreated it can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can in turn cause infertility. Men who leave their chlamydia untreated can also become infertile, due to a condition called epididymitis - an inflammation of the coiled tube (epididymis) at the back of the testicle that stores and carries sperm. Chlamydia increases risk of ectopic pregnancy.

Signs and symptoms
If you do experience chlamydia symptoms, they may begin as little as 5 – 10 days after you get the infection.

The symptoms in women include:
- Abdominal pain
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Bleeding between periods
- Low-grade fever
- Painful intercourse
- Pain/burning while urinating
- Swelling inside the vagina or around the anus
- Vaginal bleeding after intercourse
- A yellowish discharge from the cervix that may have a strong smell

How is it spread?
Chlamydia is spread by vaginal and anal intercourse. In rare cases, it can also be spread by oral sex, or touching your eye with your hand. It is important to use protection to prevent contracting or accidentally spreading the infection, should you not know you have it.

Sources: Planned Parenthood, webMD, Mayo Clinic

See also:

Sexually Transmitted Diseases - Effects on baby

Sexually Transmitted Diseases - Bacterial Vaginosis (BV)

Sexually Transmitted Diseases - Genital Herpes

Sexually Transmitted Diseases - Genital warts and HPV

Sexually Transmitted Diseases - Gonorrhoea

Sexually Transmitted Diseases - HIV: Chances of infection

Sexually Transmitted Diseases - HIV: Implications

Sexually Transmitted Diseases - HIV: Testing

Sexually Transmitted Diseases - HIV: Syphilis

Sexually Transmitted Diseases - HIV: Trichomoniasis

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