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Keywords:

  • antenatal;
  • chlamydia;
  • pregnancy;
  • screening

Introduction:  Detection and treatment of genital chlamydia trachomatis infections in pregnancy have been shown to reduce the risk of premature rupture of membranes, and post-partum endometritis and reduce the risk to the newborn of conjunctivitis and pneumonitis. Identification of factors associated with chlamydial infection in pregnancy could be used to develop criteria for routine chlamydia screening for some pregnant women. No national screening strategy exists around genital Chlamydia trachomatis infection.

Methods:  We undertook a review of the medical records of all young women (aged 20 years or younger) attending the RPA Women and Babies Young Parents Clinic for antenatal care between January 2003 and June 2006. This group was chosen as RPA Women and Babies routinely offers testing for C. trachomatis to women attending the Young Parents Clinic. Data extracted included age, country of birth, language spoken at home, postcode of usual residence, marital status, educational level, change of sexual partners within the past 12 months, consistency of condom use and history of sexually transmissible infections.

Results:  Two hundred and twelve of the 365 eligible pregnant women were screened for genital C. trachomatis, of whom 29 were positive. A rate of 13.7% genital chlamydia infection was found in this population of young pregnant women.

Conclusions:  Results from this study indicate that the rate of chlamydia infection (13.7%) is high in women aged 20 years or younger and that the most important risk factor is young age. These findings support recent recommendations that all women 25 years and younger are screened for C. trachomatis in pregnancy.