Genital Warts and Pregnancy

genital warts and pregnancy

Genital warts are a common sexually transmitted infection caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV). This viral infection can affect both men and women, posing unique concerns for pregnant women. This article will explore the impact of genital warts on pregnancy, potential risks to the baby, and the best course of action for expectant mothers.

Understanding Genital Warts

Genital warts are small, fleshy growths on or around the genital area. They are caused by certain strains of HPV, which are typically transmitted through sexual contact. The warts can vary in size and may appear as single lesions or clusters. While genital warts are generally harmless, they can cause discomfort, itchiness, and psychological distress.

Genital Warts and Pregnancy: Risks and Concerns

  1. Transmission to the Baby

    During childbirth, there is a risk of transmitting HPV to the baby if the mother has visible warts in the genital area. However, the chances of transmission are relatively low. In most cases, the newborn's immune system can fight off the virus without causing any long-term effects. Nonetheless, it is essential to take precautionary measures.

  2. Increased Discomfort

    Pregnancy can cause hormonal changes that may increase the size and number of genital warts. This growth can cause additional discomfort for the expectant mother. Addressing any concerns or discomfort during prenatal check-ups is crucial to ensure proper management.

  3. Potential Complications

    In rare cases, genital warts can lead to complications during pregnancy. These may include bleeding, difficulty urinating or obstructing the birth canal. It is vital to consult with a healthcare professional to evaluate the severity of the condition and determine the best course of action.

genital warts and pregnancy

Managing Genital Warts during Pregnancy

  1. Regular Prenatal Care

    If you have a history of genital warts or suspect that you may have contracted HPV, it is crucial to inform your healthcare provider during your prenatal visits. They can provide appropriate guidance and monitor the situation closely to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy.

  2. Treatment Options

    Treating genital warts during pregnancy can be challenging, as specific treatment methods may not be suitable due to potential fetal harm. However, in some cases, treatment may be necessary to alleviate discomfort or reduce the risk of complications.

    • Topical Treatments: Some topical medications may be considered safe for pregnant women. These medications are applied directly to the affected area and help remove the warts over time.

    • Cryotherapy: Freezing warts with liquid nitrogen may be an option if other treatments are not practical or feasible during pregnancy. However, this method should be used with caution and under the guidance of a healthcare professional.

    • Electrocautery: Sometimes, warts may be removed using an electric current. A trained healthcare provider should only perform this method after considering the risks and benefits carefully.

  3. Follow-up and Monitoring

    After treatment, attending regular follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider is crucial. They will evaluate the progress of the treatment and ensure that there are no signs of complications or recurrence. Open communication and adherence to medical advice are crucial to managing genital warts effectively during pregnancy.

Preventing Genital Warts

Prevention is always better than cure, especially regarding sexually transmitted infections. Here are some essential steps you can take to reduce the risk of contracting genital warts:

    • Practice Safe Sex: Proper and consistent use of condoms can significantly reduce the risk of HPV transmission, including the strains that cause genital warts. Condoms act as a barrier and protect sexual activity.
      • Get Vaccinated: The HPV vaccine is a safe and effective way to protect against certain strains of the virus, including those responsible for genital warts. It is recommended to receive the vaccine before becoming sexually active or during early adolescence. However, even if you are already sexually active, the vaccine can still offer protection against other HPV strains.

      • Limit Sexual Partners: Sexual activity with multiple partners increases the risk of HPV transmission. Limiting the number of sexual partners and being in a mutually monogamous relationship can help reduce the chances of contracting genital warts.

      • Regular Screening: Regular screenings and check-ups with your healthcare provider are essential for early detection and management of potential infections. Pap tests for women and HPV tests may be recommended to monitor your reproductive health and detect any abnormal changes.

      • Open Communication: Honest and open communication with your sexual partner(s) is crucial. Discussing sexual health, past infections, and any concerns can help both parties make informed decisions and take necessary precautions.


Genital warts can concern pregnant women due to potential risks and discomfort. It is crucial to seek professional medical advice and maintain regular prenatal care to ensure the well-being of both the mother and the baby. By practicing safe sex, getting vaccinated, and following preventive measures, the risk of contracting genital warts can be significantly reduced.

Remember, each pregnancy is unique, and the management of genital warts may vary depending on individual circumstances. Consult with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized guidance and support throughout your pregnancy journey. You can navigate through pregnancy with proper care and attention while effectively managing genital warts.

genital warts and pregnancy