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Are you trying to conceive, or perhaps already pregnant? Don't assume you are exempt from sexually transmitted diseases. Find out how common STDs can affect a pregnancy, and then get tested!

Couples who are planning to get pregnant often take many steps to ensure they are in good health and both mentally and physically prepared to have a baby. You may be losing weight, improving your diet, taking folic acid and quitting birth control.

Do not overlook the possibility of having a sexually transmitted disease, or perhaps several. Many STDs do not manifest with obvious symptoms, or at least not for a long time - you might have normal vaginal discharge, no pain, and even your test might be negative for STDs. Sexually transmitted diseases are not merely the domain of the promiscuous — you may be affected, even if you have been monogamous for many years. If you are trying to conceive, knowing about STDs is crucial.

How Sexually Transmitted Diseases Affect Pregnancy

Sexually transmitted diseases are still, unfortunately, a taboo topic for many. Though we don't talk about diseases that are spread through sexual contact much, they are a very real risk. Practically any person who has ever had unprotected sex can be at risk. STDs are not just for gay men, prostitutes, or people who have one-night stands. Many sexually transmitted diseases are (initially) silent, so you could be at risk if either you or your partner previously had unprotected sex with another partner — even if you have now been monogamous for many years and have never had any suspicious symptoms. 

Any couple who would like to start trying to conceive should see their family doctor for a complete health check-up first. Such an examination can detect chronic health problems and nutritional deficiencies. You may also benefit from advice about lifestyle changes, or genetic counseling. Checking for STDs should also be part of this check-up. 

STD screening is a normal part of all pregnant women's prenatal care as well. There is a very good reason for this. Many sexually transmitted diseases are harder to treat during pregnancy, and they can often be very dangerous to unborn babies. STD screening has a place in a prenatal care regime, since up to half of all pregnancies are unplanned. Still, any couple who is planning a pregnancy should definitely get tested before they stop using their chosen birth control method.

STD testing is not embarrassing. It is responsible behavior. In fact, every sexually active person should ideally get tested for sexually transmitted diseases annually as an integral part of their routine healthcare. As long as we take a Victorian attitude toward STDs, we give them the opportunity to thrive.

We'll now take a closer look at some of the more common sexually transmitted diseases in the United States. Knowing their symptoms, treatment options, and how these diseases can affect both the mother and her unborn baby during a pregnancy, you will be running to get tested immediately!

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