Risks of Syphilis in Pregnancy

Risks of Syphilis in Pregnancy

Syphilis in pregnancy can harm a baby, because when the baby is not treated, there is a high risk of the baby picking up syphilis through the placenta, which can lead to serious health problems such as deafness, blindness, and bone problems.

The treatment of syphilis in pregnancy is usually done with Penicillin, and it is important that the partner also does the treatment and that the pregnant woman does not have intimate contact without condom until the end of the treatment.

Risks of Syphilis in Pregnancy

Main risks for the baby

Syphilis in pregnancy is especially serious if syphilis is in the early stage, where it is more transmissible, although contamination can occur at any stage of pregnancy. The baby may also be contaminated during normal delivery if there is any syphilis wound in the vagina region.

In this case there is a risk of:

  • Preterm birth, fetal death, low birth weight baby,
  • Skin blemishes, changes in bones;
  • Fissure near the mouth, nephrotic syndrome, edema,
  • Seizures, meningitis;
  • Deformation of the nose, teeth, jaw, sky of the mouth
  • Deafness and learning difficulties.

The baby may be breastfed unless the mother has a syphilis wound on the nipples.

Most infected babies do not have any symptoms at birth, so everyone needs to undergo VDRL at birth 3 to 6 months after starting treatment as soon as the illness is discovered.

Fortunately most pregnant women who perform the treatment following all the medical guidelines do not pass the disease on to the baby.

How to treat syphilis in pregnancy

Treatment for syphilis in pregnancy should be indicated by the obstetrician and is usually done with Penicillin injections in 1, 2 or 3 doses, depending on the severity and the time of contamination.

It is very important for the pregnant woman to complete the treatment to avoid transmission of syphilis to the baby, who can not have intimate contact until the treatment is over and the partner is also treated for syphilis to prevent the progression of the disease and to avoid the recontamination of the woman.

It is also important that, at birth, the baby is evaluated so as to, if necessary, also take Penicillin as soon as possible.

Syphilis can be cured in pregnancy

Syphilis in pregnancy is cured when the treatment is done correctly and it is confirmed in the VDRL examination that the syphilis bacterium has been eliminated. In pregnant women diagnosed with syphilis, the VDRL test should be performed monthly until the end of pregnancy to confirm the elimination of the bacteria.

The VDRL test is a blood test used to identify the disease and should be done early in the prenatal period and repeated in the 2nd trimester, even if the result is negative, because the disease may be in the latent phase and it is important that treatment is done in the same way.