#AskMadebe: 'Which STIs Are Harmful to My Baby?'

‘The biggest culprit here is syphilis, which can infect the foetus in utero and lead to abnormalities and even foetal death. Luckily syphilis is treatable. All women are tested at the beginning of a pregnancy. Even if you’re not pregnant, if you are concerned about the possibility of an STI, ask for a syphilis test – it can be done with a simple finger prick or blood test.

‘HIV is also a risk during pregnancy especially because of the risk that the virus may be transmitted to the baby during pregnancy or at birth. Luckily, antiretrovirals mean transmission rates are as low as 1% and so it is essential that all pregnant women or those contemplating pregnancy know their status and start treatment if HIV positive.’