Getting tested for STDs is hard enough in itself, but what if you are pregnant and you have a disease that is spread through intercourse? Getting the right treatment is always important if you have an STD, and it becomes even more essential when you are expecting a baby. Of course, it is best to go through STD testing before getting pregnant. But life gets in the way of our plans sometimes! What if you have genital warts, a nasty and often persistent STD, caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV)?
If you are pregnant and have genital warts, are they a danger to your baby?
Let's start with the basics. Some strains of HPV are dangerous, and experts say that they can even lead to cervical cancer sometimes. This is one of the main reasons that vaccinations are now offered for HPV. The good news is that genital warts are often caused by strains of the human papilloma virus that are relatively harmless. You can be infected without having warts, and if you do have warts they can form in the vagina, on the cervix, on the labia and around the anus. It is possible to have only a few small warts, but in rare cases they can also grow very large, and can even physically obstruct the birth canal just due to their size. Genital warts are diagnosed through a physical exam by your OB or midwife, or a general practitioner.
Medical professionals' opinions about genital warts vary quite a lot. Some say that pregnant women who have genital warts need to deliver by c-section to prevent transmission to their babies during a vaginal birth. There is, however, no evidence to suggest that giving birth vaginally increases a woman's chances of transmitting HPV to her infant studies have shown that transmission rates are no different for those who give birth vaginally to those who have cesarians.
In most cases, genital warts will not harm an infant. However, it is possible to transmit HPV and genital warts from mom to baby. In rare cases, this can lead to the baby developing warts in the diaper area, or which is more dangerous on their vocal cords. Because of this, it is extremely important to receive treatment for genital warts as soon as possible if you are pregnant.
Genital warts can be hard to get rid of, and creams that attack them can take a long time to work. Therefore, many doctors prefer to treat the warts using laser surgery, or by freezing them. The sooner you commence treatment, the higher your chances that your warts will be gone in time for your birth. But HPV is not curable, and the virus will remain in your body regardless of whether you have warts. Even if your warts have been cured, your baby could benefit from additional monitoring after birth.