A new study conducted by researchers at Michigan State University found that pregnant women who visit emergency rooms don't always receive the necessary treatment for sexually transmitted diseases.
Researchers studied patients in three Michigan hospitals from 2008 to 2010. They found about half of the 735 women with gonorrhea or chlamydia who visited ERs did not get treatment there, despite the availability of effective and relatively inexpensive antibiotics. In all, 179 of these patients were pregnant and only 20 percent received treatment.
They say the problem is that results for STD tests often take days to get back and doctors can't always get in touch with patients after they leave the hospital.
"A lot of patients leave a phone number that's disconnected, or they just don't pick up the phone," said lead researcher Roman Krivochenitser. "The doctors are doing everything right. It's just that we don't yet have the technology for on-the-spot testing."
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the consequences of an STD can be significantly more serious, even life threatening, for a woman and her baby if the woman becomes infected while pregnant. Pregnant women with common STDs, including gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis, can usually be treated with antibiotics.