Most common infections that occur during pregnancy, such as those of the skin and respiratory tract, cause no serious problems. However, some infections can be passed to the fetus before or during birth and damage the fetus or cause a miscarriage or premature birth.
Sexually transmitted diseases that can cause problems include the following:
Infections that are not transmitted sexually and can cause problems include the following:
Chronic viral hepatitis may be transmitted sexually or in other ways. It can increases the risk of premature birth.
To determine whether to treat pregnant women with antimicrobial drugs, doctors weigh the risks of using the drug against the risks of the infection. Some antibacterial drugs, such as the penicillins, cephalosporins, and drugs related to erythromycin (called macrolides), are generally considered safe for use during pregnancy. Other antibacterial drugs, including tetracyclines and fluoroquinolones, may cause problems in the fetus (see see Table 3: Some Drugs That Can Cause Problems During Pregnancy). Doctors also consider whether treatment is likely to have any benefits. For example, if women have bacterial vaginosis but no symptoms and if the pregnancy is not considered high-risk, treating bacterial vaginosis is not known to have any benefits.
Last full review/revision September 2013 by Lara A. Friel, MD, PhD