Anonymous on August 8, 2011

Did I get trich because my boyfriend is cheating?

I’ve been dating a man for two years...we have one child together and another on the way. About six months ago, I found out I had trichomoniasis. My doctors treated it with an antibiotic. Is trich an STD? Can trich hurt my unborn child? Did I get it because my boyfriend was sleeping around? I feel sick with distrust of him.

answered by Lisa Oldson, MD on August 8, 2011

I can certainly understand your concerns...for yourself, your baby and your partner. Your doctor is the best person to talk to about these questions. However, I can give you a few comments to get you started...

First, yes: trichomoniasis is an STD. Trichomoniasis (or “trich”) can be transmitted through penis-to-vagina intercourse and vulva-to-vulva contact with someone who has the parasite.

However, having trichomoniasis doesn’t mean your partner was unfaithful. Trich can live in a carrier’s body for a long time without showing any symptoms or causing any problems. Being diagnosed with trich now doesn’t necessarily mean that your boyfriend was unfaithful to or he might have been a trich carrier before you started dating.
Can trich hurt your unborn baby? Because you noted that you’re pregnant, treatment for trichomoniasis is even more important. If a woman has untreated trichomoniasis when she’s pregnant, she’s more likely to deliver a premature and/or low birth weight baby. That’s why it’s so great you were already tested and treated.

Now that you’ve been tested and treated for trich, your partner should get treated too. If your partner is still infected, you’re at risk of becoming re-infected. Also, after you’ve both completed trichomoniasis treatment, it’s a good rule of thumb to wait a week before having sex again.

When you resume sexual activity, use condoms to further reduce the risk of re-infection or potentially catching any other STDs. This is especially important for pregnant women who aren’t sure they’re in a monogamous relationship. You may also want to consider counseling if you’re struggling with trust issues in your relationship.  

Finally, because you are pregnant, talk to your doctor about testing for other STDs. Besides trich, there are other STDs that can potentially harm the baby you’re carrying, contribute to low birth weight and increase the risk of complications during birth. And because you’ve been exposed to trich, there’s a chance that you’ve been exposed to other STDs, too.

If you know your STD status, and if it turns out that you or your partner have a sexually transmitted infection, your doctor can determine the best treatment plan for you...and ensure that you deliver a healthy child. The CDC’s recommends that pregnant women consult their doctor about testing for STDs like chlamydia, gonorrhea, hepatitis B, HIV and syphilis. And a side note: because you’re pregnant, it’s best for you to see your doctor about getting tested, rather than getting tested online. You can learn more about these STDs in our Expert Guides.  

I hope this information helps you better understand next steps when you talk to your doctor. You’re asking great questions, and I’m glad that you’re learning about how to take the best possible care of you and your growing family. I wish you, your partner and your children the best of health!

Related info:

Lisa Oldson, MD

Dr. Oldson is Medical Director of the Analyte Physicians Group. She is on staff at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, as well as Clinical Instructor at the Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University. Her areas of expertise include STDs (with a particular clinical emphasis on herpes), women's health, preventive medicine, diabetes, obesity and weight management, and mood and anxiety disorders. Dr. Oldson was educated at Rush Medical College and completed her residency at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, IL.

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