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For Birth Defects Prevention Month, Be Aware of Your Sexual Health

In the medical field, January is designated National Birth Defects Prevention month. For healthcare providers, this means educating the masses on how to prevent birth defects. For expectant families, this should mean arming yourselves with the knowledge you need to stop preventable birth defects.

Here’s what you need to know about STDs in order to prevent birth defects in your kids!

Birth Defects & STDs

Genital Herpes

When an expectant mother is infected with genital herpes that transfers to the infant before or during birth, the STD can cause a number of birth defects, including cerebral palsy, brain damage, and hearing or vision impairment.

Usually, birth defects caused by herpes are thanks to infection during birth, so risk can be minimized by treating the mother’s genital herpes before labor.

Congenital SyphilisSTDs & Pregnancy

Early congenital syphilis is diagnosed before age 2. It can cause premature birth and birth defects such as enlargement of the spleen or liver, nasal cartilage inflammation, changes in the bones, and issues in the central nervous system. Vision problems and deafness may even result. Since maternal syphilis is easily treated with penicillin to prevent transmission to the fetus, many birth defects resulting from this STD can be prevented with STD testing and treatment.

Cytomegalovirus

This STD is very common and is spread through many types of close personal contact, including intercourse, kissing, and sharing utensils.

If an expectant mother acquires cytomegalovirus (or CMV) for the first time in pregnancy, she has a high risk for passing the STD along to her infant. This can lead to very serious illnesses, disabilities, and even death. Related birth defects include deafness, blindness, and intellectual disabilities.

The US sees 40,o00 cases of CMV infection in infants each year, with 400 deaths and 8000 disabilities resulting. Although currently CMV screening is not a routine part of pre-natal care, researchers are looking for CMV treatments and developing a vaccine to combat new infection and prevent fetal transmission.

Prevent Birth Defects With STD Testing

The first step in preventing birth defects is acknowledging that a mother’s sexual health can impact her child’s. The next step is doing something about it by pursuing regular STD testing.

ARCpoint Labs nationwide offer accurate, confidential STD testing for expectant mothers and any individual looking to monitor their sexual health. Stop in and get tested today, then visit your healthcare professional for the treatment you need!

To get started, contact your nearest ARCpoint Labs for STD testing!

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