Vaginal Warts & Newborns
How Does A Woman Get Vaginal Warts?
Vaginal warts are a strain of warts that result from exposure to and infection with HPV, human papillomavirus. There are more than 100 different HPVs with the potential to cause an abnormal growth on a particular part of the body, including the genitals, hands, feet, mouth, and respiratory system. HPV infections are very common with an estimated 25 million people in the US alone infected with an HPV infection that can cause genital warts.
Vaginal warts are an STD (sexually transmitted disease) and frequently a woman is infected through unprotected sex with someone who is carrying the virus. It is not necessary for the carrier to have warts or to show signs of the infection in order for them to pass it on. Vaginal warts can grow on the vulva, anus, vagina/vaginal canal and cervix, appearing as red bumps or cauliflower-like clusters on the genitals.
Problems For Both Mom And Babe
A pregnant woman who has HPV with genital warts present should be treated prior to the birth of her baby in order to minimize risk to the newborn. Since human papillomavirus has no cure, the mother, regardless of treatment, carries it and as a result, the newborn baby is subject to infection. Treatment can greatly reduce the effect of HPV on a baby. However, if not treated, genital warts may cause a number of problems during the pregnancy and for the baby.
Urination can become a problem for a pregnant woman with warts, since during pregnancy the warts sometimes get larger and cause restriction of the urethra. Vaginal warts can also cause the vagina to have less elasticity and cause an obstruction during the delivery. The risk of the warts bleeding during delivery is also great, possibly necessitating a Caesarean section. The baby may be infected with HPV and develop genital warts. This virus can lie dormant in a child for up to three years after their birth. In some cases, warts develop in the throat of a baby born with HPV and frequent laser surgeries become necessary to open blocked air passages.
Proper Treatment Is Vitally Important
Even though many women with a history of HPV and vaginal warts have healthy pregnancies and deliveries, the need to have treatment prior to delivery is very important. Pregnancy and HPV vaginal warts is a risky combination. The doctor or midwife will be aware of the condition and advise a woman as to the best type of treatment to use, depending upon the stage of pregnancy the woman is in.
A woman may be able to treat vaginal warts herself, under the care of her physician, if she is in the early the stages of pregnancy. Treatments such as topical creams or some natural products that have been checked for safety can be used at home. If the situation requires more intense treatment, then the doctor will treat the condition with the appropriate therapy, which will not endanger the baby.