Yes, gonorrhea can pass from mother to newborn during delivery. The newborn can come into contact with the infection when passing through the vaginal canal. There’s no way to prevent infection completely, but it’s possible to reduce your infant’s risk.
Get Tested During Pregnancy
If you’re planning to get pregnant, you should ideally get tested for gonorrhea and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) before you start trying to conceive. During pregnancy, your healthcare provider can perform a series of tests to determine whether your child could be at risk of acquiring an STI during birth. Providers commonly run tests for HIV, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and others.
Medical providers test for gonorrhea, specifically, via a urine or genital sample. Urine samples test for infection acquired through vaginal sex. A throat swab is needed to check for an oral infection.
Tell Your Provider if You Know You’re Infected
If you know you have gonorrhea, tell your healthcare provider as soon as possible. Getting treated for the infection reduces the risk of passing it to your newborn.
If your newborn does become infected during delivery, antibiotics can treat the condition.
If left untreated, newborns with gonorrhea can develop secondary conditions such as eye infections or pneumonia. These eye infections can be severe enough to cause blindness.