You tested positive for syphilis while pregnant…now what? - Primary Health

You tested positive for syphilis while pregnant…now what?

  • April 24, 2023

  • Valerie Middleton, Family Nurse Practitioner

  • 2 minutes

pregnant woman with syphilis

At-home testing for STIs during pregnancy helps you take charge of your and your baby’s health.

You’re about to log on for your video visit with your provider after taking a few at-home tests. You feel nervous and wonder just what the results might reveal. You wish you had a partner to go through this with you, but unfortunately he was not the guy you thought he would be. You had come to terms with that and decided you were ready to be a mom anyway. You will be a strong mom no matter what.

The provider comes on and informs you of your results. She says you tested positive for syphilis. Syphilis! “How on earth could this happen to me? I am a straight monogamous woman,” you think.

The provider explains that while syphilis occurs more commonly among men who have sex with men, IV drug users, and those with a history of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), that does not mean that you and others outside of those groups are not also at risk. She adds that sometimes groups that travel overseas a lot, such as military personnel, can also be at higher risk.

Suddenly everything feels overwhelming, and during the visit you google yourself into a state of heightened fear. Your provider reassures you that you tested early in your pregnancy and that penicillin is the available treatment, and people often respond well. This prompt treatment can prevent the infection from being transmitted to the baby.

That week you had a sonogram with your OB-GYN and she confirmed that syphilis did not pass to your baby. She also confirmed that none of the other STIs you tested for were positive, which reassured you. Finally, she referred you to the best STI specialist in the area for additional syphilis management

You start to feel excited again about the pregnancy and grateful that taking STI at-home tests could help you take charge of your and your baby’s health!

Click here to learn more about syphilis and treatment. 

Disclaimer: This blog content and linked materials are not intended as individual medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, and should not be considered as such. Any readers with medical concerns should contact a licensed healthcare provider. This blog is provided for informational purposes only.