In the past there was no way for a woman to think about HIV and pregnancy. Women were afraid that they would transmit the disease to the baby and that their body wouldn’t be able to handle both the disease and pregnancy. However in our days it is possible for an HIV positive woman to have a baby.
Pregnancy and HIV and the baby
The truth is that there are three ways for the mother to transmit the infection to the baby. One of them is that the mother and the baby share the blood supply. The infection can pass to the baby while he or she is still in the womb. The blood of the mother circulates in the baby and so it represents a threat.
The second reason not to be pregnant when being affected by HIV is that the baby could get infected during childbirth. During this time the baby is exposed to the bodily fluids of the mother. This is why in the majority of the cases the babies are delivered by C-section. As a result the babies won’t be exposed to the fluids for longer periods of time.
The third reason for which women don’t think about HIV and pregnancy is that the baby can also be infected during breastfeeding. The breast milk contains high concentrations of the virus and the chances of the baby getting infected are of 25%. This is why it is best if women don’t opt for breastfeeding.
If there are no precautions taken and women get pregnant while being affected by HIV the babies have 25% chances of being infected before delivery, during and after. The good news is that the chances could decrease to 2%-3% if the guidelines are followed.
If you are thinking about HIV and pregnancy for sure you know the importance of the HIV medication. If you are taking Retrovir during your pregnancy and the baby receives AZT after birth, the chances decrease dramatically for the baby to be affected by infection.
To make sure that the pregnant women with HIV have a healthy baby, the time period for which the baby is exposed to the bodily fluids of the mother should be minimized. This can be achieved through a C-section. However in some special cases it is safe for women to deliver through the vagina.
Although HIV and pregnancy is possible, it is best to avoid breast feeding if there is another option, like commercial baby formula. The sad truth is that in some parts of the world this isn’t an option because of the lack of formula or clean water and so it is a must for women to breastfeed.
When thinking about HIV and pregnant women you should know that there is no evidence suggesting that pregnancy would be dangerous for the future mother in any way.
As you can see, HIV and pregnancy is possible but there are some guidelines that you have to keep in mind.