HPV Tied to Miscarriages and Preterm Births

By Lisa Rapaport

March 03, 2020

(Reuters Health) - Pregnant women infected with human papillomavirus (HPV) may be at increased risk for miscarriages and preterm deliveries, a review of past research suggests.

Mothers who have HPV are almost twice as likely as those who are not infected to have premature rupture of membranes and 50% more likely to have preterm deliveries, the analysis of data from 38 previous studies found. Women with HPV are also more than twice as likely to experience a miscarriage or stillbirth.

"There are no treatments to eliminate HPV," said senior study author Helen Trottier of the University of Montreal.

"The solution lies largely in HPV vaccination before initiation of sexual relationships," Trottier said by email.

Many women who become pregnant today may not have received the vaccine as children or teens, either because it wasn't available when they were younger or because their parents chose not to vaccinate them.

While previous research has also linked HPV to preterm births, miscarriages, and other pregnancy problems, results have been of varying quality and often inconsistent, the study team notes in The Journal of Infectious Diseases.

One limitation of the current analysis is that it pooled data from many smaller studies that used a wide variety of methods to define and measure pregnancy complications.

The included studies also were not designed to prove that HPV directly causes pregnancy complications.

Still, the evidence of a link between HPV and preterm birth and premature rupture of membranes was strong and consistent, the study team concludes. The connection between HPV and other outcomes like low birth weight, miscarriages and stillbirths wasn't as strong and the evidence was of lower quality.

SOURCE: https://bit.ly/2VE2UPi The Journal of Infectious Diseases, online February 5, 2020.

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