Pregnancy and HIV
- By Team TDO
Mothers with higher level of viral load have been found to deliver infected babies. However, no amount of viral load can be safe as infections can occur any time during pregnancy. A high level of precaution is necessary during this phase. Mostly infection occurs during delivery but that's not the only way through which it can spread.
HIV-infected mothers should not breast-feed, as virus can transmit through breast milk too.
Antiretroviral medications are used to reduce chances of transmission of HIV.
Keeping delivery time shorter can reduce the risk of transmission.
Most of the times babies born to positive mothers are positive for HIV. Babies infected with HIV will have antibodies made in their system and will continue to test positive. But if babies aren't infected, the mother's antibodies in baby's blood will eventually disappear and babies will test negative after about one to one and half year.
HIV positive women should consider possible problems with antiretroviral medications for HIV before getting pregnant. Talk to the doctor about choice, indications, and contraindications of these drugs.
There's a risk of missing doses due to nausea and vomiting during early pregnancy, hence giving HIV a chance to develop resistance. Some doctors prefer the practice of stopping or modifying medications during pregnancy to lower the risk of birth defects.
Short course of treatments can help eliminate or reduce risk of transmitting HIV to a newborn; but, short treatments increase the risk of resistance to the drugs used too.
There is a risk of birth defects due to antiretroviral drugs during the first 3 months of pregnancy.
Pregnancy does not worsen mother's HIV disease, but any HIV positive woman planning to get pregnant should discuss treatment options thoroughly and all the pros and cons with her doctor.