Questions from Readers: Pregnancy, HPV & the Vaccine

Mossy asks:
Good day! I got my 2 shots of vaccines already and my third shot is scheduled on June4, 2011. Is it true that after my third shot on June 4, I will have to wait for 6 months before I get pregnant?

Congratulations to you for getting all 3 doses of the HPV vaccine.  The vaccines have not been shown to have any negative effect upon pregnant women or their babies. So there is no recommendation that you wait any length of time to get pregnant after getting vaccinated.  Good luck to you.

Sana asks:  
I got my send shot of cervical cancer vaccination on the 1st of April and, and on 3rd of April I found out that I am 5 weeks pregnant. Will it affect my baby?

The answer is NO, don’t worry. See the answer to a similar question from Susann below.

Susann asks:  
I had my first vaccine last Tuesday and I have found out today that I am pregnant. I am 17 years old. Is this going to harm my baby?

Getting pregnant now after receiving the vaccine shouldn’t be a cause for you to worry. There are ongoing pregnancy registries tracking pregnancy outcomes in women who have gotten pregnant around the time of receiving the vaccine. None of those studies have found any adverse effects on the baby. You should talk about your concerns with your doctor, but you should feel assured that the vaccine isn’t going to cause your baby any harm.

Rbb317 asks:  
I didn’t know I was 3-wks pregnant when I got my first cervical vaccine shot – will this hurt my baby? I have yet to go see my OB doctor but still I needed/wanted to throw out the question in the open.

There has been no evidence that the vaccine harms a fetus. So don’t worry. Read the answers below to learn more. But do talk to your doctor about your concerns.

Aura asks:  
Good Day! I had my last vaccine of HPV last Oct. 23, 2010 and I want to get pregnant this February. Will that be safe for me and my baby?

Congratulations on getting all three doses of the cervical cancer vaccine. Getting all three doses helps you to get the maximum benefit from the vaccine.  Getting pregnant after receiving the vaccine is safe. The vaccine has not been shown to  affect a fetus.    So you should be fine getting pregnant after receiving the 3 dose series.

Anonymous asks:  
Can any of the treatments for the abnormal cervical cells caused by high-risk HPV interfere with my ability to have a baby, whether through vaginal birth or cesarean? Or to conceive?

Any standard treatment for cervical precancerous lesions can weaken the cervix.  While there are generally no issues getting pregnant, there might be issues carrying the pregnancy to full term.  If you have one of these procedures and have a baby in the future, let your Obstetrician know you have had a procedure as s/he might consider more surveillance of your cervix to look for cervical shortening or might recommend a procedure where a stitch is placed around your cervix.  You might want to consider having a preconception counseling discussion with your Obstetrician.

Keep in mind, there are no other available therapies recommended at this time other than surgical procedures or cryotherapy.  However, there are many vaccines, creams, and oral agents that are being tested to see if they work- however, at this time, none are currently approved for use.

Zaara asks:  
I am 24+ yrs old, planning to conceive next year (by Feb 2011). Is it possible to get vaccinated after delivering the child and while still breastfeeding?

Yes. You may get an HPV vaccine while breastfeeding. Lactating mothers are one of the special populations identified by the CDC as eligible for the vaccines.

Rachie asks:  
I just found out I have HPV. I want to get pregnant with my second child. Will I pass on HPV to my child during birth?

This is not something that you need to worry about if you get pregnant again. Maternal-child transmission that results in disease in an infant is exceedingly rare. Good luck to you.

Meenal asks:  
I have taken 3 doses of HPV vaccine at 0, 1 and 6 months. How much should be the gap between my last vaccine dose and planning pregnancy? Will the raised antibody titres affect my pregnancy outcome if I plan immediately in the very next month of last vaccine dose?

Good for you for getting all three doses of the cervical cancer vaccine. It is extremely important to finish all three doses to obtain the maximum benefit.  Getting pregnant now after receiving the vaccine should not give you any concerns. The vaccine is considered a class B drug regarding teratogenicity (possibility of affecting a fetus).  This means it is very safe and in the clinical trial data and pregnancy registry since approval of Gardasil, it is clear this is a safe drug and likely does not affect a fetus. So all of this equates to the conclusion that you do not have to wait to delay getting pregnant after the 3 dose series.

Confused asks:  
I was just diagnosed with mild dysplasia CIN I. I am engaged.  Is it ok to have unprotected sex and try getting pregnant?

An HPV infection rarely leads to cervical cancer. In most women infected with HPV, the cells in the cervix return to normal after the body’s immune system destroys the HPV infection. However, some HPV infections do not go away and may remain present in the cervical cells for years. It is the long-standing infection that can lead to changes in the cells that can progress to cancer. Getting pregnant when you have HPV is okay.  The HPV infection presents a very little risk to the infant.

Sabah asks:  
If l took 2 of the vaccinations, and become pregnant a while after the second vaccination, do l have to redo the vaccinations after l have given birth. Will this be ok, or will it have side effects

No, you don’t need to start the vaccination series all over again. You should proceed to get the last vaccine after pregnancy.  In fact, you should receive the HPV vaccine as soon as you can after pregnancy.  If you are breastfeeding, the CDC recommends you can still get vaccinated while lactating.

Breee asks:  
I just got my 2nd shot, and I also just found out I’m pregnant — no more than 6 weeks — but I was pregnant when I got the shot. Is this going to hurt the baby?

While the vaccine is not recommended for women who are pregnant, so far in the ongoing registries, there is no evidence that the vaccine harms the baby.  Do talk the situation over with your health care provider, but don’t be overly anxious.

Mardy asks:  
Is it safe to get pregnant after getting the vaccine?

Getting pregnant now after receiving the vaccine is fine. The vaccine is considered a class B drug and there are ongoing pregnancy registries tracking pregnancy outcomes in women who have gotten pregnant around the time of receiving the vaccine.  See the question and answer above from Bitsy. You should feel perfectly safe getting pregnant after getting the three vaccine series.

Bitsy asks:  
I have received all 3 cervical cancer vaccine shots. How soon can I become pregnant?

Good for you for getting all three doses of the cervical cancer vaccine. It is extremely important to finish all three doses to obtain the maximum benefit.  Getting pregnant now after receiving the vaccine should not give you any concerns. The vaccine is considered a class B drug regarding teratogenicity (possibility of affecting a fetus).  This means it is very safe and in the clinical trial data and pregnancy registry since approval of Gardasil, it is clear this is a safe drug and likely does not affect a fetus.  So all of this equates to the conclusion that you do not have to wait to delay getting pregnant after the 3 dose series.

Jackie asks:  
I’m 18 and have already taken 2 cervical cancer vaccine shots and am scheduled to get my last one in December. I just found out I am 7 weeks pregnant. Will the vaccine harm my baby? Will I have problems or something like that? I read that pregnant women should not take the vaccine.  I am worried.

You ask about the effect of the cervical cancer vaccine on pregnancy.  You should not get the third shot while you are pregnant. The vaccine is not recommended for women who are pregnant.  So far in the ongoing registries, there is no evidence that the vaccine harms the baby. You should definitely talk to your doctor about your concerns, but I don’t think you need to be overly worried. Good luck with your pregnancy. Make sure you see your doctor regularly while you are pregnant.

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