What are Genital Warts?
Genital warts are defined as soft growths that appear on the genitals. They are a type of STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) that is caused by certain strains of the human papilloma virus (HPV). Genital warts can be painful and produce discomfort along with itching. They are considered dangerous for women specifically because some HPV types can cause cervix cancer and vulva.
Genital Warts during Pregnancy
It is good news that pregnancy warts are not harmful for pregnancy. After speaking about pregnancy warts to your midwife or doctor, you can wait for treatment until delivery. This is because many treatments cannot be taken during pregnancy. However, sometimes, due to increased blood flow, genital warts might grow and flourish more quickly on the body during pregnancy.
As a matter of fact, good news is that genital warts, in spite of being active at the time of delivery, do not interfere with the normal delivery. Furthermore, your baby is also safe from being infected with the virus through birth. Therefore, you need not worry or get anxious about genital warts during pregnancy.
How to Prevent Genital Warts during Pregnancy?
HPV and genital warts can be avoided by refraining from all types of sexual activities. Another way to prevent genital warts is by getting a screening done for both of you before any sexual contact.
In addition, barrier methods, such as male and female condoms, can also help prevention of transmission. However, this is not fool proof prevention because there may be warts on places that condom doesn’t cover. Encourage your partner to talk with a nurse or doctor about the HPV vaccine. Most of the brands provide protection against some types of the virus responsible for maximum cases of genital warts. You can get HPV vaccines, available with doctors, for young men and women. However, these vaccinations cannot be taken during pregnancy. Most importantly, make it a point to inform your sexual partner beforehand if you have genital warts. This way, you can prevent them from spreading.
How to Treat Genital Warts?
Usually, these warts disappear by themselves or even grow into clusters of warts. Well, disappearing of warts doesn’t indicate removal of HPV. In fact, even if warts do not appear now, they can return at a later stage. There is no permanent cure for genital warts. However, there are certain over the counter medications that can treat the warts to make them less visible. But, these medications have not received a clean chit for use during pregnancy. If, in case, you were prescribed these medications before your pregnancy, make sure to talk about continuing these during pregnancy.
Remember, it is not safe to treat genital warts with OTC wart removers. Such treatments would only lead to more irritation and pain as they are quite harsh, especially for application on sensitive genital tissue. If your warts are large enough to interfere with the procedure during delivery, it is better to get them removed.
Normally, following methods are used to remove genital warts during pregnancy:
- Excising the warts away with surgery
- Freezing them off with liquid nitrogen
- Burning them off via laser currents
Genital Warts during Pregnancy and Related Complications
Usually, genital warts do not affect the pregnancy. Nonetheless, exceptions are always there. There might be some cases that might include complications. If you have active genital warts during your pregnancy, they can grow larger than what you would typically expect.
In fact, for some women, these warts can lead to painful urinating. Large warts, on the other hand, might even lead to bleeding during the delivery. In such cases, it is suggested to opt for a cesarean delivery. In rare cases, genital warts get transferred to your baby. In such cases, your infant might develop warts in throat or mouth few weeks after birth.
Genital Warts and Pregnancy care
If you have suffered from HPV in the past, it is important to inform your gynecologist or pregnancy care provider. Also, make sure to inform them if you have had an abnormal Pap smear test or genital warts. Even though HPV doesn’t usually affect the unborn child or pregnant mother, the doctor might want to check for any kind of abnormalities during the pregnancy period. Just because hundreds of cells are multiplying and growing during the pregnancy period, your care provider would want to keep you safe by watching out for any unusual growth or similar changes. In addition, some pregnant women might develop larger genital warts than normal during the period. If you don’t know whether you have HPV or not, your gynecologist will surely evaluate you for the virus as a crucial part of the prenatal care.