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Sexual Conditions Health Center

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HPV and Pregnancy

Pregnant, With HPV continued...

In some pregnant women with HPV, the tissue changes may increase during pregnancy. If possible, doctors postpone treatment, because it may lead to premature labor.

If a pregnant woman has genital warts, the doctor will monitor to see if the warts get larger. Hormone changes during pregnancy can cause the warts to multiply or get larger. Sometimes the warts will bleed.

Depending on the extent of the warts, the doctor may postpone treatment until after childbirth. But if the warts get so big that they might cause an obstruction in the vagina, they may need to be removed before childbirth.

Genital warts can be removed surgically, with chemical treatment, or with electric current.

HPV and Childbirth

The risk of HPV transmission to the baby during childbirth is very low. Even if babies do get the HPV virus, their bodies usually clear the virus on their own.

Most of the time, a baby born to a woman with genital warts does not have HPV-related complications. In very rare cases, a baby born to a woman who has genital warts will develop warts in the throat. This serious condition is called respiratory papillomatosis and requires frequent laser surgery to prevent the warts from blocking the baby's breathing passages.

And even if the mother has a type of HPV virus that has caused cervical cancer, the baby can be delivered safely.

Managing HPV After Childbirth

If a Pap test was abnormal during pregnancy, the doctor will likely do another Pap test a few weeks after childbirth. Sometimes, the cervical cell changes go away after childbirth and no treatment is needed.

Sometimes, genital warts also go away. If not, the doctor may recommend treatment after childbirth.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on September 26, 2014
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