Dear Doc | Can Chlamydia cause a miscarriage?
Q. Dear Doc, I read your article last week about sex during pregnancy and saw you say to still protect yourself from STI’s when pregnant. It got me to wonder if chlamydia can cause a miscarriage? I was tested for it after my pregnancy had a complication that caused me to lose the baby and afterwards, was told that I had it. I was busy being sad that I forgot to ask if that had caused me to lose the baby, and should I be tested again early in my next pregnancy to prevent it?
A. I am very sorry to hear about your miscarriage. It is common to wonder if your pregnancy could be affected after receiving a chlamydia diagnosis. Chlamydia, is one of the most common sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Yes! chlamydia infection can result in a miscarriage.
In 2011, a study of blood, vaginal fluid and placenta samples from women found to have chlamydia and had miscarried, supported the idea that there is an increased risk of miscarriage in women who are infected with chlamydia, compared to women who are not.
Other problems that can be caused in your pregnancy by Chlamydia are:
-Premature rupture of membranes (Early leaking of the water surrounding the baby)
-Low birth weight babies
Your baby can also become infected with chlamydia during birth if you were not treated for it during your pregnancy, and this can cause eye and lung infections in the newborn.
With all those risks to the pregnancy, it is a good idea to protect yourself from chlamydia both before and during pregnancy and to have it promptly treated if you do acquire it.
You should also be tested for chlamydia at your first prenatal visit. This is because it is very common, and most women do not have symptoms of chlamydia.
If you do have symptoms, you may experience:
-Abnormal vaginal discharge
-Bleeding after sex
-Itching/burning with urination
Fortunately, treatment is very simple.
During pregnancy, you can be safely treated for chlamydia with a single dose of an oral antibiotic called azithromycin. After that, you should be tested within three to four weeks to make sure the infection has cleared up. You may also be retested for chlamydia again later in your pregnancy, just to be sure you haven't reacquired it. Your partner should also be treated as well.
Having had a past chlamydia infection, also increases your risk of having an ectopic pregnancy, by increasing the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease. A prior chlamydia infection may also cause fertility problems. Though an ectopic pregnancy is not a viable pregnancy, it is a serious long term complication of having a chlamydia infection. It is therefore recommended you have an early pregnancy ultrasound in your next pregnancy to exclude this diagnosis.