Congenital syphilis occurs when a mother's
syphilis goes untreated during pregnancy and is passed
to the baby through the
placenta. A baby can also become infected with
syphilis during labour or delivery.
The risk of infecting the baby is greatest when the mother is in the
early stages of syphilis. But infection is possible any time during
It is very important that a pregnant woman have a blood test to detect
syphilis. The baby's risk of getting syphilis is significantly reduced if the
mother receives treatment during pregnancy. If the mother is treated before the
16th week of her pregnancy, the baby will usually not become infected.
If an infected mother does not receive treatment, the mother may
miscarry, or the baby may be born dead, die shortly after birth, be born early,
or be infected with syphilis.
Complications that can occur in a baby whose infected mother was not
A flat bridge of the nose (saddle
Permanent incisor teeth that are peg-shaped, widely spaced,
and notched at the end with a crescent-shaped deformity in the centre (notched
teeth or Hutchinson's teeth).
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerKathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine Thomas M. Bailey, MD - Family Medicine E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology Kevin C. Kiley, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology