Patient & Family Education Materials

Start over with a New Search

Chlamydia in newborns

What is chlamydia?

Chlamydia (kla-mid-ee-ah) is a bacteria that causes eye infections and pneumonia in babies. A baby gets chlamydia from the mother during childbirth. If not treated, chlamydia infections will get worse.

What are the signs of chlamydia?

Signs of an eye infection are:

  • Yellow-green eye drainage
  • Swelling of the eyelid

Signs of pneumonia are:

  • Fast breathing
  • Trouble breathing
  • Fever
  • Coughing
  • More sleepy than usual

What can I do for my baby?

For an eye infection:

Wash the eyes with a clean washcloth and water. Wipe the eyes from the inner corner to the outer corner with a separate area of the washcloth for each eye, making sure all dried drainage is gone. Apply eye drops or ointment as prescribed by the doctor.

Most babies may return to day care after they have no drainage and have used the prescribed medicine for at least 24 hours.

For pneumonia, antibiotics will be prescribed to give by mouth.

When should I call the clinic?

Call if the signs of infection last longer than one week or get worse while taking the antibiotic.

What else do I need to know?

Chlamydia is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). You can get chlamydia from vaginal sex, anal sex, or oral sex. Chlamydia can be cured. The mother and sex partner need to be cultured and treated. If not treated, the infection can cause pain and permanent damage to the sex organs. This damage can leave men and women unable to have children.

What should I do if I have chlamydia?

  • The doctor will prescribe an antibiotic for 2 weeks. Allow about 3 weeks for recovery.
  • Always use condoms.
  • You do not need to miss school or work.

What can I do for comfort while I am being treated?


  • Keep your genital area clean: use plain unscented soaps.
  • Take showers instead of tub baths.
  • Wear cotton underwear or underwear with cotton crotch.
  • Avoid sitting in wet clothes, such as a swimsuit.
  • When using the toilet, wipe from front to back.
  • Avoid douches and irritating sprays.
  • If you have diabetes, follow your treatment plan.
  • Avoid pants that are tight in the crotch and thighs.
  • Change tampons often.
  • If urinating causes burning, urinate while bathing or through a tube, such as a toilet paper roll or plastic cup with the end cut out.
  • Avoid overexertion, heat, or a lot of sweating.


  • Keep your penis clean: use plain unscented soaps.
  • Wear cotton under shorts.
  • Avoid tight pants.
  • Avoid overexertion, heat, or a lot of sweating.

How can I prevent chlamydia?

  • Limit your number of sex partners.
  • Always use latex condoms.
  • Be aware of changes in your body so you can seek treatment as soon as possible.

When should I call my clinic?

Call the clinic if:

  • Signs of vaginal infection such as a change in vaginal drainage or itching.
  • Symptoms last longer than one week or get worse while taking the antibiotic.
  • Unusual vaginal bleeding.
  • Swelling of the genitals.


This sheet is not specific to your child but provides general information. If you have any questions, please call the clinic.

Children's Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota
Patient/Family Education
2525 Chicago Avenue South
Minneapolis, MN 55404

Last Reviewed 7/2015 © Copyright

Back To Top

This page is not specific to your child, but provides general information on the topic above. If you have any questions, please call your clinic. For more reading material about this and other health topics, please call or visit Children's Minnesota Family Resource Center library, or visit

© 2024 Children's Minnesota