Transmission of HIV to unborn baby in pregnancy | Blog By Dr. Surinder Kaur Gambhir, Paras Bliss, Panchkula and Chandigarh

Can HIV be passed to an unborn baby in pregnancy?

Can HIV be passed to an unborn baby in pregnancy?

by: Dr. Surinder Kaur Gambhir
Sr. Consultant - Obstetrics & Gynecology Paras Bliss, Panchkula

HIV positive woman can transmit virus of HIV to baby during pregnancy, childbirth, delivery, and breastfeeding (through breast milk).  Mother to child transfer of HIV infection is known as perinatal transmission of HIV. Only if the right procedures are to be followed the chances of baby getting HIV are comparatively less. It is a perception that if a mother is having HIV infection is most likely to deliver an HIV infected baby, but this not the case because the egg and sperm are not HIV infected.

Medicines to prevent transmission of HIV infection to the baby in pregnancy:

Modern medicines have been very effective in preventing the transmission of HIV during the pregnancy period, labor and at the time of delivery.  Many women had taken the intake of ARVs at the time of pregnancy and this has helped the transmission of the HIV to their babies. Thus due to this treatment, many babies have been delivered with getting HIV infection, who might get infected otherwise or must have got HIV or must be born with HIV negative.

Most of the medicines of HIV are safe during pregnancy. Also, these HIV medicines do not increase the risk of the birth defects.  Soon after the birth of the baby, the baby is given medication for four weeks in order to stop the developing HIV infection. Also, soon after the birth of 48 hours HIV test is done for the baby. And again the test will be done at six weeks and twelve weeks.


  • Detection of HIV is really important at the onset of the pregnancy or as early during pregnancy or women is about to get pregnant.
  • In some cases, women who are taking HIV medicines go to the cesarean section. Also, the baby who is born by HIV infected mothers have to take HIV medicines for 4 to 6 weeks after their birth and are not allowed for breastfeeding.
  • Also, healthy eating habits are recommended for the HIV infected mothers along with gentle exercise routine.
  • It is recommended that HIV infected mothers should opt for an elective cesarean section for childbirth if possible.
  • You should feed your bay with formula feeds because you can’t breastfeed if you are having HIV.
  • Also, women should not intake alcohol and cigarettes while women are pregnant.

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Paras Bliss Panchkula