Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease that could cause a lot of problems for the pregnant woman as well as the child she carries. This disease is a bacterial infection that is contracted through sexual intercourse or close contact with an infected person. There are three main stages to this disease; the first stage is primary syphilis where either an internal or external open sore is noticed on the genitals. If this sore is not treated in time it then progresses to the second stage called secondary syphilis. In this stage the main symptoms are fever, rashes, hair loss and a sore throat. If this is not treated in time; the final stage it progresses to can cause dementia, blindness, and also major damage to the nervous system.
During pregnancy a baby can contract this disease through the placenta that it receives its nourishment from. During birth it can contract the disease through the vaginal canal. If the baby has contracted the disease during pregnancy then it is called congenital syphilis. It may not exhibit any symptoms immediately but these can show up even after eight months. Some symptoms are skin rashes, a horse cry, fevers, swollen hands and legs, and small sores on its body. If the baby is not treated in time the infection can progress to a more serious stage where a lot of physical problems emerge. This form of syphilis is called chronic syphilis. Here the baby can suffer in a number of ways as its bones get damaged, and there are a lot of problems in the development and functioning of its vision, teeth, hearing, mental abilities as well as brain seizures.
If you are pregnant and have syphilis it is important for you to get it tested and treated in time so that it does not affect your child. If you get treated for this disease before the sixteenth week of your pregnancy then it can help prevent transmitting this to your child. Syphillis test involves a simple blood test that is first taken to determine the cause as well as to check for the bacteria. Then a penicillin injected is given. If the mother is allergic to penicillin then a course of antibiotics are prescribed by the doctor. Once the child is born and its tests come back positive then a penicillin injected is administered and repeated test are conducted to ensure that the bacteria is not in the body anymore.
Submitted by M T on April 21, 2010 at 12:10