HIV & Pregnancy

This tool is designed to give you personalised information about having a baby. You will be asked a series of questions about your health, your partner and your preferences. Then we’ll use the information you’ve given us to compile a detailed, personal guide for you.

You may find it useful if:

  • you are a woman living with HIV and are pregnant,
  • you are a woman living with HIV and would like to become pregnant, or
  • you are an HIV-negative woman, have an HIV-positive male partner, and would like to become pregnant.

We’ll ask questions about viral load and CD4 cell count (either yours or your partner’s). It isn’t essential, but you’ll get the most of the tool if you can give an approximate answer to these questions.

The guide provides information about options that are available to women living in the UK. If you are living outside the UK, guidelines and options may be different.

Start the questionnaire here or keep on reading below for more information on how HIV & Pregnancy works.

How HIV & Pregnancy works

1. Answer a series of short questions

You will be asked a series of questions about your health, your partner and your preferences. You can answer all the questions, or you can skip any questions you don't know the answer to.

There are around 20 questions and it should take between five and ten minutes to complete. You won't be asked for your name.

2. Print, email or save a PDF of your personalised guide

Once you have finished answering the questions, the tool produces a personalised guide, which you can print, save as a PDF or send as an email. We won’t store your email address.

3. Get personalised information to help during pregnancy

We’ve designed the personalised guide to give you lots of information about your pregnancy. Based on your answers, we’ll show you the information that we think is most relevant to you.

If you’re not pregnant yet, there will be detailed information on planning your pregnancy and how to become pregnant without HIV transmission.

If you’re a woman living with HIV, there will be personalised information about HIV treatment and care during pregnancy, childbirth and feeding.

There’s quite a lot to read in the guide so you might want to keep it and come back to it later. We’d recommend discussing the points raised in your guide with your healthcare team.

Find out about your options

Which of the following best describes you?

HIV-positive woman
HIV-negative woman who has an HIV-positive male partner
Other

Which of the following statements best describes your situation?

I’m pregnant at the moment
I would like to become pregnant soon

Do you know the HIV status of your partner (the man you’d like to have a child with)?

He is HIV positive (he has HIV)
He is HIV negative (he doesn’t have HIV)
I don’t know

Are you currently taking HIV treatment?

Yes
No

Is your partner currently taking HIV treatment?

Yes
No

Do you sometimes miss doses of your HIV drugs or take them late?

Yes, once or twice a month
Yes, more often than that
No

Does he sometimes miss doses of his HIV drugs or take them late?

Yes, once or twice a month
Yes, more often than that
No
Don't know

Have you been told that your HIV viral load is currently 'undetectable'?

Your viral load is based on a blood test and measures how much HIV there is in a drop of blood. If your viral load is below 50 copies/ml, there is very little HIV in your blood and your viral load is said to be 'undetectable'.

Choose 'yes' if you have been told that your viral load is undetectable or is below 50 copies/ml. Staff at your HIV clinic should be able to tell you what your viral load is.

To find out more about this topic, read NAM's booklet CD4, viral load & other tests.

Yes, my viral load is 'undetectable'
No, my viral load is not 'undetectable'
I don't know what my viral load is at the moment

At the moment, is your partner’s HIV viral load 'undetectable'?

Viral load is based on a blood test and measures how much HIV there is in a drop of blood. If your partner’s viral load is below 50 copies/ml, there is very little HIV in his blood and his viral load is said to be 'undetectable'.

Choose 'yes' if he has been told that his viral load is undetectable or is below 50 copies/ml. Staff at the HIV clinic should be able to tell him what his viral load is.

To find out more about this topic, read NAM's booklet CD4, viral load & other tests.

Yes, his viral load is 'undetectable'
No, his viral load is not 'undetectable'
I don't know what his viral load is at the moment

Has your viral load been undetectable for at least six months?

Yes
No
Don’t know

Is your viral load less or more than 10,000 copies/ml?

Less than 10,000
More than 10,000
Don’t know

What is your CD4 cell count?

Your CD4 cell count is based on a blood test and it is a sign of the health of your immune system (your body’s own defence system). Staff at your HIV clinic should be able to tell you what your CD4 cell count is.

To find out more about this topic, read NAM's booklet CD4, viral load & other tests.

Below 200
Between 200 and 350
Between 350 and 500
Above 500
Don’t know

Have you had a sexual health check-up recently?

A sexual health check-up may be done at a specialised clinic, your HIV clinic or sometimes at your GP’s. It may involve a physical examination of your genital area and tests on blood and urine.

Yes, in the last six months
No, not recently
Don’t know

Has your partner had a sexual health check-up recently?

A sexual health check-up may be done at a specialised clinic, your HIV clinic or sometimes at your GP’s. It may involve a physical examination of your genital area and tests on blood and urine.

Yes, in the last six months
No, not recently
Don’t know

Do you have hepatitis B?

Hepatitis B is a viral infection that affects the liver. Choose 'yes' if you currently have hepatitis B. Choose 'no' if you had hepatitis B in the past but you have cleared the virus, or if you have never had hepatitis B.

To find out more, read NAM's booklet HIV & hepatitis.

Yes
No
Don’t know

Do you have hepatitis C?

Hepatitis C is a viral infection that affects the liver. Choose 'yes' if you currently have hepatitis C. Choose 'no' if you had hepatitis C in the past but you have cleared the virus, or if you have never had hepatitis C.

To find out more, read NAM's booklet HIV & hepatitis.

Yes
No
Don’t know

Are you are currently taking drugs against pneumonia or another opportunistic infection? Or do you have an untreated opportunistic infection?

Opportunistic infections are illnesses that the body is normally able to fight off, but that can cause problems to people with weakened immune systems. Examples include pneumonia, tuberculosis and cytomegalovirus (CMV). Choose ‘yes’ if you have an untreated infection, or if your doctor is giving you medicines either to prevent or treat infection.

Yes
No
Don’t know

Are you taking a daily tablet of folic acid?

Women who are planning to get pregnant are recommended to take a 400-microgram supplement of folic acid every day while trying to get pregnant, and for the first twelve weeks of pregnancy. Folic acid reduces the risk of your baby having a birth defect. You can get folic acid tablets at pharmacies or with a doctor’s prescription.

Yes
No

Do you smoke?

Answer ‘yes’ if you smoke cigarettes, roll-ups, joints (cannabis), cigars, pipes, etc.

Yes
No

Do you sometimes drink alcohol?

Choose ‘yes’ if you sometimes drink wine, beer, spirits or other alcohol.

Yes
No

Have you been trying to become pregnant for six months or more but are still not pregnant?

Choose ‘yes’ if you have been having sex without a condom, or regularly using self-insemination techniques, for at least six months and you have not become pregnant.

Yes
No

Do you know how to use ‘self-insemination’ techniques to become pregnant?

Self-insemination can be done at home. It involves manually inserting your partner’s sperm into your vagina without having unprotected sex.

Yes
No
Don’t know

Do you know how to work out on which days you are fertile?

The days on which you are ovulating are your fertile days. They are the days on which you may be able to become pregnant.

Yes
No
Don’t know

Has your doctor discussed the possibility of your partner taking HIV drugs to reduce his risk of infection while you are trying to get pregnant?

Yes
No
Don’t know

Have you talked to your partner’s HIV doctor about the possibility of you taking HIV drugs to reduce your risk of infection while trying to get pregnant?

Yes
No
Don’t know

You told us that you are pregnant. Have you confirmed the pregnancy by having a pregnancy test?

You can buy a home pregnancy test from any pharmacy or the pharmacist can do the test for you. You may also be able to get a free test from your GP, health centre or family planning clinic.

Yes
No

How many weeks pregnant are you?

Please enter the number of weeks since you became pregnant. Enter an approximate figure if you are not sure.

Were you taking HIV treatment when you became pregnant?

Yes
No

If you have the choice, would you prefer to have a vaginal delivery or a caesarean section?

Vaginal delivery (a ‘normal’ delivery)
Caesarean section (surgery)
Not sure

Would you like to have more information about how safe anti-HIV drugs are for the unborn child?

Yes
No

Would you like to continue with the pregnancy?

Yes
No
Not sure

Would you like more information about any of these topics?

Having the baby adopted
Ending the pregnancy (having an abortion)
The chances that my baby will have HIV

HIV & Pregnancy

Published April 2013

Last reviewed April 2013

Next review April 2015

Contact NAM to find out more about the scientific research and information used to produce this tool.

Acknowledgements

Thanks to AbbVie and Bristol-Myers Squibb for funding the development of this resource. They have had no editorial control over its content.

UK guidelines

This tool is based on UK HIV treatment guidelines. Find out more in our guidelines summaries.

Find out about HIV treatment guidelines >