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STI's During Pregnancy - Pediatric Infectious Disease

Syphilis, herpes, and hepatitis C—doctors say these are some of the most commonly seen sexually transmitted diseases in newborn babies. “With the opioid epidemic in the United States now we see a lot of people who are infected with hepatitis C and don’t know that they are infected, and so there is a risk to their baby,” said Dr. Stephanie Stovall, a pediatric infectious disease doctor with Lee Health. While doctors say the risk of transferring hepatitis C to a newborn baby is low, pediatric infectious disease Dr. Stephanie Stovall says, it shouldn’t be dismissed. “Once the mom is infected with hepatitis C there’s nothing we can do to prevent that exposure to the baby. For hepatitis C, we actually can’t reliably test a baby until they are about 18 months old,” she said. She says the most important thing to understand about hepatitis C is patients can be infected for a long time before showing any signs of the disease. Other STI’s or sexually transmitted infections commonly seen in babies nationwide is syphilis the herpes. “The fortunate thing about syphilis is it’s very treatable,” Dr. Stovall said. But if left untreated, syphilis can cause pregnancy loss. “The most dangerous to the baby really is herpes virus. The problem is if the baby is exposed and we don’t know it and catch it early, it can be a very devastating illness for the baby,” she said. Mothers should be tested for all STI’s at the beginning and throughout their pregnancy to ensure a safe and healthy delivery for both mom and baby. View More Health Matters video segments at Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care. Visit