Prenatal chlamydia test would cut risks

GPs should test pregnant patients for chlamydia, according to a UK report on STIs. US research has found that women with chlamydia were at an increased risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes. The study included 851 women with chlamydia and 3,404 women who tested negative for chlamydia.

Women with chlamydia infection were one and a half times more at risk of preterm delivery and premature rupturing of membranes than women not infected with chlamydia.

However, there was no increased risk of infant death or low birth weight associated with chlamydia infection.

North London GP Dr Richard Ma, of the RCGP’s sex, drugs and HIV working party, said the research added to evidence that chlamydia could be detrimental for birth outcomes.

‘The national chlamydia screening programme includes a prenatal setting,’ he said.

‘Three quarters of the women with chlamydia included in the study would have been identified by the chlamydia screening programme.’

But GPs could test for chlamydia before it is done in prenatal care, because they are often the first point of contact for pregnant women, said Dr Ma.

It is women who are poorly educated and under 25 that are most at risk of chlamydia. This fits in with the recent NICE guidance on reducing STIs, he added.

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