Womens Health

The Facts About HPV and Pregnancy

With over 80 percent of the female population being infected with one or more strains of the disease, it’s not uncommon to wonder about HPV and pregnancy. With statistics like that it is fairly safe to say that most women who are pregnant or planning to get pregnant have reason to consider what having HPV can mean for a pregnancy. Here you’ll find a wealth of information that should clear things up for you and answer your questions.

What You Need To Know

Since certain strains of HPV can cause genital warts, it’s important for a soon-to-be mother or anyone planning to get pregnant to know the dangers associated with this type of HPV and pregnancy. While it’s rare for a mother to pass an HPV infection to her baby, the presence of an active HPV infection and genital warts is another story all together. If genital warts are present, a baby can become infected on its way through the birth canal. In adults genital warts are a nuisance, but in a newborn they can be life-threatening. Babies who contract HPV are at risk of developing warts in the mouth and throat which can cause difficulties breathing.

HPV and pregnancy also seem to make genital warts grow at a much faster rate so an expectant mother with an active infection is at risk of developing a large number of warts that can interfere with urination and even affect the birth canal by blocking it. Any woman who is pregnant and suffers from genital warts or any other strain of HPV needs to consult her OBGYN and work together to find the safest way to approach the pregnancy and delivery.

The Cancer Risk

Some strains of HPV are responsible for pre-cancerous changes in the cervix called dysplasia. It has been shown that pregnancy, for whatever reason, can worsen cervical dysplasia and put a woman at higher risk of cervical cancer. For this reason women need to be diligent about having regular pap smears done and keep on top of any changes. Many women get poked and prodded so often during the course of their pregnancy that they put off seeing the doctor after giving birth, but that can prove a costly mistake. For many women, cervical dysplasia and even cervical cancer are found during the follow-up appointment after giving birth. Taking the link between HPV and pregnancy seriously is something that could save your life.

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