Editor's Note: The statistics and information listed here does not reference a specific resource, so I cannot guarantee their validity. That said, this is a very useful and staggering article!
Pregnancy and HIV are more common now. Annually, 6400 women become pregnant while infected with HIV. In the past, there were many complications associated with being HIV positive and being pregnant. With new medications, women can now become pregnant and carry the baby without passing HIV to the newborn. There are still risks associated with being pregnant and having HIV, but new medical research has made it possible for women with HIV to become pregnant.
How Can HIV Be Transmitted to an Unborn Baby? HIV can be transmitted to an unborn baby in three ways if medication is not administered to and precautions are not taken to prevent the transmission.
1. Through Shared Blood Supply. When the baby is in the womb, the mother’s HIV positive blood may be circulated to the fetus. This can be prevented with medication.
2. Exposure During Delivery. The newborn baby may be exposed to HIV during delivery because of excessive bodily fluids. Most mothers have a Cesarean-section to minimize exposure to HIV.
During Breastfeeding. HIV can be passed to a newborn through breast milk. The risk of HIV infection through breast milk is approximately one in four. Women with HIV are typically instructed not to breastfeed.
How to Prevent HIV Transmission During Pregnancy
There is a 25 percent chance of a mother passing HIV to her baby during pregnancy, delivery or post-delivery if the proper precautions are not taken. With the proper precautions, the number reduces significantly to approximately two or three percent. Here are some of the precautions necessary:
Take HIV Medications. Most physicians prescribe Retrovir (AZT) during pregnancy and delivery to decrease the chances of transmitting HIV to the baby. AZT is also administered after the baby for continue protection.
The physician may change medications based on the following factors: CD4 count, use of other HIV during, the trimester of your pregnancy, the risk of the disease progressing, weight and the effect the drugs have on the fetus.
Deliver Via Cesarean Section (C-Section). When delivering via a Cesarean section, the risk of HIV transmission is reduced. There will be less exposure to infected fluids during vaginal delivery.
Refrain From Breast Feeding. Women who want to prevent transmission after birth should not breastfeed their babies. Women Should Be Tested on Their First Prenatal Visit Sexually active women should be tested frequently for STDs. It is especially important to be checked for STDs during the first pre-natal visit.
Physicians need to know what STDs to protect from during the pregnancy. This information will protect both the baby and the mother. If your doctor does not administer a test for HIV and other STDs, you should request one for the health of you and the baby.
Tests can also be obtained from a local clinic also. The CDC has a list of approved testing sites listed on their site. Consider obtaining an HIV test if your physician does not conduct one. Women’s Health Research Sheds Light on HIV and Pregnancy New medical research has reduced the risk of HIV transmission before, during and after pregnancy. This makes it possible for women infected with the disease to conceive and carry the baby to term. Speak with a physician about the possible risks of HIV and pregnancy and learn how to prevent transmission. There is hope for women to conceive with HIV and other STDs. Learn about your options. Keep up on all women's health research..
This guest blog was written by: Deborah Murray
Deborah Murray's Bio
Deborah is just someone who cares very deeply and is reaching out. She recommends you check out the Magee-Womens Research Institute and Foundation.