The time to take care of your baby is now. Prenatal care is health care you get when you’re pregnant. All women who are pregnant need prenatal care from health care providers like doctors or midwives. Your first visit with your provider is important: they will talk to you about things that can keep you and your baby healthy, and you will get to ask questions. At this visit you’ll be tested for STDs (sexually transmitted diseases). This is a normal part of prenatal care—all women are tested for STDs. If you have an STD, you’ll be treated with antibiotics or other medicines.

Talk. Get tested. Get treated.

Having an STD when you’re pregnant or when you give birth, can cause health problems for your baby.

STDs are diseases that can be passed from one person to another through sex (vaginal, oral and anal) and intimate touch like heavy petting. STDs are common, and there are many types: chlamydia, genital herpes, gonorrhea, syphilis, hepatitis B, HPV and HIV.

While STDs are health concerns for all people, it’s mostly women who suffer from life-changing health problems—in the U.S., untreated STDs cause infertility in at least 24,000 women yearly. Untreated syphilis results in infant deaths in up to 40% of births. Delay of treatment is the problem, and it’s common, because a woman can have an STD and feel perfectly fine with no symptoms.

Know Your Florida County: Total Gonorrhea, Chlamydia and Infectious Syphilis, Top Ten Rate by Year

Nearly 2.3 million cases of chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis were diagnosed in the U.S. in 2017. Chlamydia was the most common with more than 1.7 million cases reported—45% were women 15–24 years old (CDC). In the past five years, bacterial STDs (chlamydia, gonorrhea and syphilis) have increased by 32% in Florida with over 140,000 cases reported in 2017.

Chart Source: Florida Health CHARTS

Know Your Florida County: Congenital Syphilis Cases by Year

Between 2013 and 2017, congenital syphilis (CS) has more than doubled in the U.S. (CDC). Florida reported 93 cases of CS in 2017—that’s an increase of about 145% during a five-year period (from 38 to 93 cases). If the mothers had been tested and treated for syphilis during their first and third trimesters, their babies may have been born CS-free.

Chart Source: Florida Health CHARTS

Talk to your provider.

Ask about STD testing, especially if you think you’re at risk. Ask about tests for syphilis, HIV and hepatitis B. Ask about the HPV vaccine.

Get tested.

Testing is done by taking blood samples or swabs. Know that Florida Statute requires all providers offering prenatal care to test for STDs during the first and third trimesters.

Get treated.

Treatments can prevent serious health problems like infertility. STDs can be treated with antibiotics, vaccines and other medicines.

Source: CDC

1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636): Find local STD testing sites and providers who are available to answer your questions. Learn more about STDs and at-risk pregnancies. Find out if you’re eligible for WIC, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children. WIC provides nutrition and breastfeeding education, and issues EBT cards for food for pregnant women, breastfeeding women and children younger than five. Find out if you’re eligible for services that include provider referrals, care coordination and support for pregnant women, infants and children younger than three. Home visiting is available.

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