Dr Ochuwa Babah, a Senior Lecturer at the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, has highlighted the dangers associated with untreated gonorrhoea, especially in pregnancy, warning that it can lead to life-threatening complications in babies.
Citing a study published in the Journal of American Sexually Transmitted Diseases Association, the consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist said 50 per cent of untreated maternal gonorrhoea infections are transmitted to the neonate during birth.
According to Dr Babah, gonorrhoea has a devastating impact on babies, especially for those that survive it, warning that it could cause eye and lower respiratory tract infections.
The maternal health expert who spoke with Punch during an interview said gonorrhoea in pregnancy requires proper treatment to achieve a full cure, adding that vaginal discharge is the most common symptom in women with the infection.
“Gonorrhea infection is among the many sexually transmitted diseases.
“In the past, there used to be this general belief that sexually transmitted diseases cannot occur during pregnancy.
“But we now have evidence to show that they do occur in pregnancy. Gonorrhea in particular is an infection that can occur in about zero to 14.2 per cent of pregnancies.
“The prevalence varies from place to place, depending on the behavioural attitude of the people.
“Gonorrhea is not as common as Chlamydia trachomatis, which is another sexually transmitted disease.
“But it has been found to impact adversely on pregnancy, both in women that have HIV and even in women that do not have HIV.
“The most common of these complications is the occurrence of continuous miscarriage.
“It starts with vaginal bleeding and some abdominal cramp and before you know it, the bleeding becomes heavy and by the time the woman gets to the hospital, she would be told she has lost the pregnancy.
“This usually happens at the early stage of the pregnancy", she said.
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