It is a common experience to feel like life stops when you receive a positive HIV diagnosis. But that feeling eventually passes, and you realize you can—and should—continue to live your life to the fullest. For women, that may include having children. With proper prenatal care, it is possible to safely carry a baby to term and deliver a child without passing on the virus.
HIV Medications during Pregnancy
If you become pregnant, even before you are able to schedule your first prenatal appointment with your obstetrician, it is important that you continue taking your HIV medication. Most HIV medications, particularly antiretroviral therapy (ART), pose little or no risk to the developing fetus, yet they significantly decrease the chance of passing the virus onto your baby.
Your medication may need to be modified throughout your pregnancy as hormonal and metabolic changes will affect how your body processes medication. Report any side effects or body changes and discuss any concerns you have with your primary care provider, specialist and OB.
While natural birth may be an option for you, it is generally recommended that women with HIV deliver via Cesarean section (C-section) as it reduces the risk of the baby contracting the HIV virus (and/or other pathogens that may be present in the birth canal as a result of suppressed immune function).