Q & A Library

Print this page | Sign up for free e-bulletins
 | Bookmark This Page

HPV and Pregnancy?

I just found out I have HPV. I am six months pregnant. Will this affect my baby? 

Answer (Published 1/16/2009)

The human papillomavirus (HPV) is the most common sexually transmitted infection. There are more than 40 strains of HPV that can infect the genital areas of both men and women. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) most people with HPV infections aren't aware of them and never develop any symptoms or subsequent health problems. However, certain strains of HPV cause genital warts and others can promote the development of cervical cancer and, less often, cancers of the vulva, vagina, anus, and penis.

Related Weil Products
Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor for Women's Health - Women's health issues such as menopause, PMS and menstruation can often be effectively addressed through lifestyle, diet, and prudent nutritional supplementation. Learn more - get your free, personalized vitamin recommendation today, at Dr. Weil's Vitamin Advisor.

In 90 percent of all cases, the body's immune system clears an HPV infection naturally within two years, no matter what strain you have.

When pregnant women have HPV, the virus usually does not harm the fetus. Risk of transmission to the baby is very low, and HPV doesn't affect your risk of miscarriage, premature delivery, or any complications of pregnancy. If you are found to have a strain of HPV associated with cervical cancer, however, your obstetrician should monitor you throughout your pregnancy to make sure no harmful cervical changes occur, but even if they do, treatment most likely will be postponed until after delivery because of the danger of premature labor posed by intervention. If you have genital warts, your physician will monitor them for any changes that could affect the birth process. If the warts do grow appreciably, they may have to be removed before delivery (by chemical treatment or use of a painless electric current).

Cesarean delivery usually isn't considered necessary to protect the babies of women with genital warts. The only serious - but extremely rare - risk to the baby is respiratory papillomatosis, the development of warts in the throat. In this unlikely eventuality, the warts must be removed via laser surgery to make sure that they don't obstruct the baby's breathing passages.

Andrew Weil, M.D.

Creative Commons License Some Rights Reserved Creative Commons Copyright Notice
A portion of the original material created by Weil Lifestyle on (specifically, all question and answer-type articles in the Dr. Weil Q&A Library) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.

The Weil Vitamin Advisor
Get your FREE personalized vitamin recommendation & supplement plan today!

Dr. Weil on Healthy Aging
Your Online Guide to the Anti-Inflammatory Diet. Start eating for your health - begin your free trial now.

Dr. Weil's Spontaneous Happiness
Achieve emotional well-being in just eight weeks! Start your 10-day free trial now!

Vitamin Library
Supplement your knowledge with Dr. Weil's essential vitamin facts. Learn why they are necessary and more.

Dr. Weil's Optimum Health Plan
Your 8-week plan to wellness.
Begin your journey today!

Dr. Weil's Head-to-Toe Wellness Guide
Your guide to natural health.
Use the Wellness Guide today!

Dr. Weil's Anti-Inflammatory Diet
Food Pyramid

Our interactive tool can help improve overall health through diet.

Condition Care Guide
Learn about health conditions from acne to vertigo, and Dr. Weil's view of the best treatment options for each.

Healthy Recipes
Discover a treasure trove of healthy, healing foods and creative, delicious ways to prepare them.

Q&A Library
Over 2,000 questions from you and their corresponding answers from Dr. Weil.

Copyright © 2015 Weil Lifestyle
Information on this web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for the advice provided by your physician or other healthcare professional. You should not use the information on this web site for diagnosing or treating a health problem or disease, or prescribing any medication or other treatment.

Ad Choice
Advertising Notice

This Site and third parties who place advertisements on this Site may collect and use information about your visits to this Site and other websites in order to provide advertisements about goods and services of interest to you. If you would like to obtain more information about these advertising practices and to make choices about online behavioral advertising, please click here