HPV Home > Genital Warts and Pregnancy

In most cases, genital warts will not affect pregnancy. Your healthcare provider may need to monitor you closely and recommend treatment if needed. If you have genital warts and pregnancy occurs, tell your healthcare provider immediately, because there is a potential risk for transmitting HPV (the virus that causes genital warts) to an unborn baby during vaginal delivery.

How Do Genital Warts Affect Pregnancy?

Any expectant mother is naturally concerned about conditions that can harm her unborn baby. Genital warts are no exception. Fortunately, in most cases, genital warts cause no problems for either the mother or baby during pregnancy.
This article will focus on:
  • The impact of past genital warts infections
  • The potential impact of genital warts on the mother
  • The potential impact of genital warts during pregnancy on the unborn baby.

Past Cases of Genital Warts and Pregnancy

If you had genital warts in the past and they got better (either with or without treatment), it is unlikely that they will return during pregnancy. You will, however, want to let your healthcare provider know if you have had genital warts in the past.

Genital Warts During Pregnancy: What Is the Impact on the Mother?

There has been no research to show that developing genital warts during pregnancy increases the risk for miscarriage, preterm delivery, preeclampsia, or other pregnancy complications.
For women who are diagnosed with genital warts during pregnancy, their healthcare provider will monitor the situation closely, although treatment may not be recommended. The warts often get better on their own or soon after delivery. If treatment is recommended, several different options are available. For example, the healthcare provider may recommend:
  • A liquid nitrogen solution to freeze them off
  • An acid solution, which chemically "burns" the wart
  • Electrosurgery (known as LEEP)
  • A laser procedure
  • Surgery.
In some cases, genital warts can cause problems during pregnancy. For example, the warts may grow or become larger and bleed. If warts increase in size, this can make it difficult to urinate. If the warts are in the vagina, they can make the vagina less elastic or block the birth canal. If the warts block the birth canal, a woman may need to have a cesarean section (c-section) delivery. However, genital warts infection and genital warts are not the only reasons for having a c-section.
Scientists are not exactly sure why genital warts get bigger during pregnancy in some cases. Hormones, a change in the environment, or changes in the immune system may play a role.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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