Sexually transmitted infections in pregnancy - An update on Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae

Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2020 Dec:255:1-12. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2020.10.002. Epub 2020 Oct 8.


Routine screening for Chlamydia and gonococcal infection in pregnancy is not widespread, especially in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), despite their potential adverse consequences on pregnancy outcome. We conducted a systematic literature search of three major databases to review current literature surrounding Chlamydia trachomatis and Neisseria gonorrhoeae infections in pregnancy. We discuss the epidemiology and burden of both infections, detection methods, potential adverse feto-maternal and infant outcomes and provide an overview of treatment options. A total of 67 articles met the inclusion criteria. The prevalence of C. trachomatis and N. gonorrhoeae across all trimesters ranged between 1.0%-36.8% and 0-14.2% worldwide, respectively. The most common diagnostic method is the Nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT). In pregnancy, chlamydia is associated with preterm birth, spontaneous miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal conjunctivitis, while gonorrhoea is mainly associated with preterm birth and stillbirth. Amoxicillin, erythromycin and azithromycin showed similar efficacy in the treatment of chlamydia in pregnancy, while ceftriaxone and cefixime were effective in treating gonorrhoea in pregnancy. Being largely asymptomatic infections in women, we opine that detection strategies with locally appropriate tools should be combined with the syndromic approach in LMICs, where there is a high burden of disease.

Keywords: Chlamydia; Genital infections; Gonorrhoea; Pregnancy; Screening; Sexually transmitted diseases.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Chlamydia Infections* / diagnosis
  • Chlamydia Infections* / drug therapy
  • Chlamydia Infections* / epidemiology
  • Chlamydia trachomatis
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Neisseria gonorrhoeae
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth*
  • Prevalence
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases*