Anogenital Warts in Pregnancy & the Risks

Pregnancy has an effect on anogenital warts and there tend to be a larger number of warts present in pregnant women infected than infected women who aren’t pregnant. The warts also tend to increase in size. There are certain risks to your child but these are very rare and there have been no links with miscarriages.

If you have anogenital warts at the time of pregnancy, you will not be able to have some types of treatment. Although the warts themselves will not cause miscarriages or ectopic pregnancies, if you use the treatment podophyllin, you run the risk of inauterine death or teratogenicity, which is where developmental abnormalities and malformations may occur. You will also not be able to use the treatments podofilox, sinecate chins and imiquimod.

If you have an outbreak of genital warts during the time of labour, there may be some risks and complications. One of which is that the warts may occur in the area of the birth canal and cause obstruction so the baby cannot be delivered correctly. In this instance, the baby would have to be delivered by caesarean. However, if the baby can be delivered down the birth canal, it risks exposure to the genital warts and the human Papilloma virus may be passed on. Usually the baby’s’ immune system can fight off the infection and they will not contact any infection but there is a rare case where they might get a condition called Juvenile respiratory papillomatosis. However, this is such a rare risk that most babies will be born naturally if possible.

What is Juvenile respiratory papillomatosis?

If you do pass the HPV virus onto your child during birth, there is a very rare chance that they will contract juvenile respiratory papillomatosis and this infection can be life threatening. The virus can infect the respiratory tract of your baby so that warts can appear anywhere down this tract. This can cause respiratory obstruction, which can be fatal, and also the warts may cause a change in your child’s voice. The warts can develop anywhere along the respiratory tract whether that be the nose or the lungs but they are most likely to develop in the larynx region. The infection can appear at any time in the five years after your child has been born and the infection can make your child ill for a very long time.

There is no cure for juvenile respiratory papillomatosis; only treatment and the warts can appear at any time. Your child may require numerous surgeries in order to correct the problem and medication. This can mean that they are in and out of hospital for the majority of their outbreaks and are ill for a long period. It may be several years before the infection clears up. However, this is a very rare possibility.

Can a caesarean section stop the risk of Juvenile respiratory papillomatosis?

If you are infected with anogenital warts and have an outbreak at the time of labour, there is a chance that your child may become infected by HPV as they have to pass through the infected area in order to be born. There are risks to this as the infection may take hold and the child could develop juvenile respiratory papillomatosis. Therefore, logically having a caesarean section should get rid of this risk. However, this is not the case. It has not been proven that your baby will be completely protected from juvenile respiratory papillomatosis if they are born through caesarean section. Therefore, as the risk of JRP is extremely rare and your baby will not necessarily have 100% protection if they are born via caesarean, your doctor will not recommend a caesarean section when a natural birth is viable.

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