Syphilis among women, pregnant women, and newborns - On the Rise

Congenital Syphilis Surges in the U.S

Syphilis among women, pregnant women, and newborns – Focus on the increases among women and its impact on pregnant women and newborns, as well as what individuals and healthcare providers can do to help. 

What is Syphilis ? 

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that can have very serious complications when left untreated, but it is simple to cure with the right treatment.

  • It’s divided into three stages with primary and secondary (P&S) being the most infectious stages of the disease.
  • Without appropriate treatment, long-term infection can result in severe medical problems affecting the heart, brain, and other organs of the body.
  • Having syphilis also makes it easier to get HIV. 

What is congenital syphilis (CS)?

A disease that occurs when a mother with syphilis passes the infection on to her baby during pregnancy.

How can CS affect my baby?

CS can have major health impacts on your baby. How CS affects your baby’s health depends on how long you had syphilis and if — or when — you got treatment for the infection.

CS can cause:

  • Miscarriage (losing the baby during pregnancy),
  • Stillbirth (a baby born dead),
  • Prematurity (a baby born early),
  • Low birth weight, or
  • Death shortly after birth.


Up to 40% of babies born to women with untreated syphilis may be stillborn, or die from the infection as a newborn.  

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