Genital Warts and Pregnancy

Genital Warts and Pregnancy

Genital warts are a disease that is usually transmitted through sexual intercourse. In women, they grow on the exterior and interior of the vagina, uterus, cervix, and the region around the anus. They occur in women who are infected by the human papillomavirus, or HPV, and the fact that they are highly-contagious makes them a major cause of concern for pregnant women.

Women who have a history of HPV infection or genital warts may experience a worsening of the symptoms of the disease during pregnancy because their immune system will be weakened when they are conceiving. As such, their genital warts may increase in size during pregnancy. Depending on where the warts are located, they may result in complications during delivery.

If large warts develop on the inside of the vagina, they may cause obstruction in the birth canal, and this makes it very difficult for the mother to deliver the baby. In some cases, the delivery of a child can cause the warts to hemorrhage. When vaginal birth is impossible due to too much bleeding or obstruction in the birth canal, a caesarian delivery will be performed.

Pregnant women who have genital warts may also pass the disease to their babies, either during pregnancy or childbirth. Although the disease is not curable, it usually does not result in serious health problems for babies. In rare cases, babies of pregnant women with genital warts develop a condition called laryngeal papillomatosis, which can be life-threatening.

This disease occurs when warts grow in the throat and mouth of a baby, and the baby may experience difficulty in breathing when warts become larger. Laryngeal papillomatosis is usually transmitted because of an infected birth canal, and symptoms may not show until the baby reaches the age of three.

The most effective form of treatment for this condition is laser surgery, which has to be performed at regular intervals to prevent the warts from obstructing the child’s breathing. Some physicians may also recommend Interferon therapy, which has been proven to be effective in slowing down the growth of the disease.

Pregnant women with genital warts should not use over-the-counter treatments without a physician’s recommendation. Ordinary treatment methods that work for ordinary women with genital warts can be harmful to pregnant women. Most of the over-the-counter medications for treating genital warts contain salicylic acid, a substance that is detrimental to the health of unborn babies.

Certain prescription medicines, such as podofilox, are easily absorb-able through the skin, and they can result in birth defects. One of the effective ways to treat genital warts is cryotherapy, a method that uses extreme cold to destroy warts. It is important to seek advice from a doctor before trying out any treatment method.

Since having genital warts can put a newborn baby’s health at risk, it is advisable that women take the necessary precautions to prevent genital warts. Safe and healthy sexual practices can greatly reduce the chance of contracting the disease. Those who have sex partners with genital wart problems should avoid sexual contact with their partners until the warts are eliminated. A healthy diet and lifestyle can also prevent genital warts because it helps to strengthen the immune system.

Female Genital Warts

To see more on the subject of female genital warts and vaginal warts, we have a full dedicated page to it here:

What is HPV?: An overview of the HPV condition.
HPV, Genital Warts, and Pregnancy: An article that discusses the effects of HPV on childbirth and the health of the baby.
Will HPV Affect Pregnancy?: Question and answer about HPV and pregnancy.
Laryngeal Papillomatosis: A comprehensive description of the laryngeal papillomatosis disease.

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