Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease that infects close to 3 million people in the United States each year. For women, chlamydia causes an inflammation of the cervix which often produces no symptoms. Unfortunately, the bacteria can make its way up into the uterus and cause a bigger infection (called pelvic inflammatory disease). Some women get very sick from this infection, and for others it happens silently with no pain, fever, or outward signs. Either way it can scar the fallopian tubes, causing infertility.
Chlamydia is also a factor in premature delivery. A new study from The Netherlands (published in May in the European Journal of Epidemiology) tells us that women who have chlamydia during pregnancy are more than 4 times more likely to delivery before 32 weeks.
Because it is almost always a silent infection, most women have no idea they have chlamydia. Therefore, it is vital to get screened during pregnancy at your first visit. Remember, if you had sex, you are at risk for an STD. If you have concerns about your partner’s fidelity, you have had sex with more than one partner during your pregnancy, or if you are 24 years and younger (women under 25 are three times more likely to have chlamydia than women 25 years and older) ask to be screened again at the end of your second trimester.