Syphilis: Infection during pregnancy

On this page

Testing for syphilis during pregnancy

If you have syphilis while pregnant, you can pass the infection to your baby during pregnancy or birth. This is called congenital syphilis. The health impact of syphilis on the baby depends on:

Congenital syphilis can have severe health consequences.

Protecting yourself and your partners from getting syphilis is the best way to prevent congenital syphilis in your baby.

If you're pregnant, it's important to be screened for syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) as soon as possible. Even if you have an STI, you may not show symptoms. Seek care as early as possible in your pregnancy, ideally in the first trimester, so that you can find and treat any infections as quickly as possible.

Health impacts of congenital syphilis

Untreated syphilis during pregnancy can cause:

A baby with congenital syphilis may be born without symptoms of infection.

Congenital syphilis can cause health problems for the baby, such as:

Treating syphilis during pregnancy

It's safe to be treated for syphilis during pregnancy. If you are diagnosed with syphilis, getting treated right away will minimize the health effects for you and the baby. Syphilis can be cured with antibiotics.

You can get syphilis more than once if you have sex with someone who has the infection and:

If you're diagnosed and treated for syphilis, be sure to:

Once you have been treated for syphilis, you will need follow-up blood tests to make sure the infection is gone. It's important that you attend all of the scheduled visits.

Notify all of your sexual partners about their risk of infection. This is so they can be tested and treated to avoid further transmission or re-infection. All babies that could have been exposed to syphilis during pregnancy will need specialized care and follow-up after birth.

If you're uncomfortable notifying your partner(s), ask your health care provider or local public health unit for help.

Related links

Page details

Date modified: