STDs are infections that are primarily spread through sexual contact and can affect both men and women of any age. In some cases, it is possible for pregnant women to pass on sexually transmitted diseases to their unborn child.

Despite the wealth of information available, misconceptions about STDs still exist. Some believe that only individuals engaging in sexual activity can contract STDs. However, congenital STDs exist, and it is possible to be born with an STD from an infected mother.

Born with an STD: Separating Myth from Fact

Congenital sexually transmitted infections are passed from an infected mother to the infant at some point during pregnancy, labor, delivery, or breastfeeding. The chances of this happening are dependent on the timing and type of STD.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are no known cases of infants being born with gonorrhea or syphilis if their mothers were tested and treated before delivery. However, chlamydia, hepatitis B, herpes, and HIV can be transmitted to infants despite treatment.

Birth is not the only way congenital STDs occur. Infants can also contract infection while passing through the birth canal, and in some cases, via breast milk.

It is important to note that not all infants born to parents with STDs become infected, and there is no way to guarantee that an infant will not contract an STD.

The Root Cause of Congenital STDs

STDs can be transmitted from mother to child in a few ways.

During pregnancy, an infected mother can transmit STD to the fetus before birth through the placenta. During delivery, the infant can pass through an infected birth canal and come into contact with the infection. The infant may also become infected through breastfeeding.

According to the CDC, risk factors that increase the chances of an infant contracting an STD include:

  • Mother has untreated or inadequately treated STDs
  • Lack of prenatal care
  • Maternal drug use
  • Multiple sex partners during pregnancy
  • Untreated bacterial vaginosis

Preventing Congenital STDs: What Future Parents Need to Know

Expectant mothers who have STDs should talk to their doctors about treatment and how to safely deliver their babies. Treating STDs before or during pregnancy can help protect the infant.

Other steps parents can take to reduce the risk of transmitting STDs to their newborns include:

  • Getting screened and treated for STDs before and during pregnancy
  • Practicing safe sex
  • Avoiding sharing personal items such as towels, razors, or toothbrushes

Expectant mothers should also attend regular prenatal care appointments, as some STDs may not have any symptoms and can go unnoticed without proper testing.

Lastly, there are resources available for expectant parents such as counseling and support groups, as well as information on how to access testing and treatment options.

The Effect of Congenital STDs on Childhood Development

Children born with an STD can experience health risks and complications that may affect their physical and mental development. The long-term impact on their health depends on the type and severity of the STD acquired.

Some possible health complications resulting from congenital STDs include:

  • Blindness
  • Deafness
  • Delayed physical and mental development
  • Liver disease
  • Seizures
  • Joint inflammation

Though congenital STDs can be severe, the good news is that many children born with an STD can lead healthy and fulfilling lives with proper management, treatment, and care.

Living with a Congenital STD: Coping Strategies and Treatment Options

Living with a congenital STD can be challenging, especially for children and their families.

To start, individuals should seek medical care from physicians or specialists with experience treating STDs. Treatment options vary depending on the type of STD, but they can include antiviral medications, counseling, and supportive care.

Individuals could also benefit from finding a support group or counseling to cope with the emotional and psychological effects of the disease. Support groups offer a safe space to share experiences and can provide ongoing support, while counseling can help with depression and anxiety related to the diagnosis.

Additionally, parents with congenital STDs should be informed about appropriate hygiene practices to reduce the risk of transmitting the infection to their children during close contact. Having open and honest communication with family, friends, and medical providers, can also be helpful in the journey of living with a congenital STD.


Being born with an STD is possible, and it can have severe health risks and complications. It is essential to understand how congenital STDs occur, their prevention, and available treatment options to identify the most effective way of managing them. While it may be discouraging, people diagnosed with a congenital STD can still lead a healthy and fulfilled life while receiving the necessary care and support.

By Riddle Reviewer

Hi, I'm Riddle Reviewer. I curate fascinating insights across fields in this blog, hoping to illuminate and inspire. Join me on this journey of discovery as we explore the wonders of the world together.

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