Chlamydia is a common sexually transmitted disease. It is estimated that between 3 and 5 million people are infected each year. Symptoms include vaginal discharge and pelvic pain. However, it can be symptomless—you may not know you have been exposed. Between 20 and 40% of all sexually active women have been exposed at some time.
One of the most important complications of chlamydia is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). This is a severe infection of the female organs that can make it more difficult for you to get pregnant. If you have had PID, your chance of having an ectopic pregnancy is greater.
During pregnancy, a mother-to-be can pass a chlamydial infection to her baby as it travels through the birth canal. The baby will have a 20 to 50% chance of getting chlamydia. A baby exposed to chlamydia may be born with an eye infection or pneumonia.
Tests for chlamydia include a pelvic exam and a cervical swab. Treatment usually involves tetracycline, which should not be given to a pregnant woman. During pregnancy, erythromycin is the drug of choice.