Pregnancy Problems

Trichomoniasis During Pregnancy

How trichomoniasis affects pregnancy — and what to do if you have it.

What is trichomoniasis during pregnancy?

Trichomoniasis, commonly referred to as “trich,” is a sexually transmitted infection caused by a parasite.

What are the signs of trichomoniasis during pregnancy?

Some women experience no symptoms. Most, though, notice frothy yellowish-green vaginal discharge and irritation.

Are there any tests for trichomoniasis during pregnancy?

Your healthcare provider will perform a physical exam and pelvic examination. (Red sores can usually be seen on the cervix or inside the vagina of women infected with trich.) A sample of vaginal discharge will also be taken and analyzed.

How common is trichomoniasis?

It’s one of the most common STIs. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 7.4 million new cases of trich occur each year in men and women.

How did I get trichomoniasis?

You caught the parasite that causes trichomoniasis — it's transmitted during sexual activity, especially sexual intercourse. Most infected men show no signs or symptoms of the disease, so it’s next-to-impossible to tell if a potential partner has trich.

How will trichomoniasis affect my baby?

Trich may be uncomfortable and unpleasant, but it’s a really a concern because the infection can cause inflammation of the cervix that can lead to bleeding or preterm labor. Pregnant women with trichomoniasis are more likely than other pregnant women to go into labor early and to deliver a baby that weighs less than five-and-a-half pounds. Bottom line: Trich potentially affects your ability nurture your baby in utero the full nine months (see next page for how to treat it).

What’s the best way to treat trichomoniasis?

That’s where things get tricky. (No pun intended.) Trich is highly treatable, but there’s some concern that the drug of choice — metronidazole (Flagyl) — might be harmful to an unborn baby, especially in the first three months of pregnancy. Your doctor will work with you to determine whether the benefits of treatment outweigh the risks.

What can I do to prevent trichomoniasis?

Insist on safe sex. If you’re in a mutually monogamous relationship — and you both test clean for STIs — you have nothing to worry about. But if you have any doubts at all about your partner’s STI/STD status, insist on condoms.

What do other pregnant moms do when they have trichomoniasis?

“[When I was] seven weeks [pregnant] and a few days, I was spotting and had my [SO] take me to the ER…the spotting [turned out] to be because of Trich, a fairly common STD, and not because of baby.”

“I discovered I had this when I was pregnant with DS. I found out at my 12 week appointment, I did use [a prescribed] gel and everything was fine.”

“I’m taking my prescription as directed and now have peace of mind.”

Are there any other resources for trichomoniasis?

US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

World Health Organization

Plus, more from The Bump:

STDs during pregnancy?

Discharge During Pregnancy

Is sex safe during pregnancy?

By Deborah Ottenheimer, MD, ob-gyn at Ottenheimer Healthcare in New York