The relationship between pregnancy and sexual risk taking


      OBJECTIVES: We attempted to determine whether risks of acquiring sexually transmitted diseases differ between pregnant and nonpregnant women. STUDY DESIGN: Women attending clinics in Brooklyn (332 pregnant and 1069 nonpregnant) were interviewed and tested for Trichomonas vaginalis and Chlamydia trachomatis. Independent-sample t tests were conducted via SPSSX (SPSS Inc., Chicago) to assess differences in risk behavior across pregnancy status. RESULTS: In the pregnant sample 17.2% had positive test results for chlamydia and 23.4% had T. vaginalis. In the nonpregnant women the rates were 10.9% and 17.7%, respectively (p < 0.01). Pregnant respondents used condoms less consistently than nonpregnant women (p < 0.01). Although nonpregnant women reported a higher frequency of sexual activity and more sexual partners in the previous month, the strength of those relationships was weak. CONCLUSION: We have found that pregnancy does not represent a time of reduced sexual risks. The differences in self-reported risk, with the exception of consistency of condom use, all showed very weak indexes of strength. Providers of obstetric services should incorporate “safer sex” messages into routine prenatal care. (AM J OBSTET GYNECOL 1996;174:1033-6.)


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