Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease (also called STD). An STD is a disease you can get from having sex with someone who has the disease. You can get an STD from vaginal, anal or oral sex.

About 2.8 million people get this STD each year in the United States. It’s most common in people younger than 25.

Can chlamydia cause problems during pregnancy?

Yes. If you get it before or during pregnancy, chlamydia can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (also called PID). PID is an infection of the uterus, fallopian tubes and other reproductive organs. It can cause stomach pain and fever. PID can damage your fallopian tubes, lead to an ectopic pregnancy and cause fertility problems (problems getting pregnant).

If you’re pregnant and your chlamydia is not treated, you can pass it to your baby during labor and birth. It can cause eye infections and pneumonia in your baby.

How do you know if you have chlamydia?

Most women who have chlamydia have no signs or symptoms. Some have vaginal discharge and burning when they urinate. If you think you may have chlamydia, tell your health care provider.

Chlamydia often happens together with another STD called gonorrhea. If you have one of these infections, be sure you’re tested for the other.

If you’re pregnant, your health care provider checks you for chlamydia at an early prenatal checkup. Your provider uses a urine sample or vaginal fluid taken with a swab to test for chlamydia. The sample or swab is sent to a lab for testing.

Chlamydia is treated with antibiotics. Antibiotics are medicines that kill infections caused by bacteria. This treatment can prevent problems for you and your baby.

How can you protect yourself from chlamydia?

Here’s how to protect yourself from chlamydia:

  • Get tested and treated. If you find out you have chlamydia, get treatment right away. If you or your partner has untreated chlamydia, you can pass it back and forth to each other during sex. You and your partner also need testing for gonorrhea. Gonorrhea often happens together with chlamydia.
  • Don’t have sex. This is the best way to prevent yourself from getting an STD, including gonorrhea.
  • If you have sex, have sex with only one person who doesn’t have other sex partners. Use a condom if you’re not sure if your partner has an STD. Ask your partner to get tested and treated for STDs.

Last reviewed: May, 2013