PloS one 2018 03 2213(3) e0194370 doi 10.1371/journal.pone.0194370
Vaginal delivery has been recommended for more than ten years for women living with HIV (WLWH) with good virological control. However, in Europe most WLWH still deliver by cesarean section (CS). Our aim was to assess the rate of vaginal delivery and the indications for CS in WLWH over 20 years in a setting of low overall CS rate.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
This was a retrospective study of all WLWH delivering in Finland 1993-2013. We identified the women by combining national health registers and extracted data from patient files.
The study comprised 212 women with 290 deliveries. Over 35% of the women delivered several children during the study years. During 2000-2013, with consistent viral load monitoring, 80.0% showed HIV viral loads <50 copies/mL in the last measurement preceding the delivery. Altogether 74.5% of all WLWH delivered vaginally and the rate of both elective CS and emergency CS was 12.8% each. For most CSs (63.5%) the indication was obstetrical, for 28.4% it was avoiding HIV transmission and for 0.7% it was mother's request. In hospitals with less than ten HIV-related deliveries during the study period, the rate of elective CS was higher than in more experienced hospitals (22.7% versus 10.6% [p = 0.024]). No perinatal HIV transmissions occurred. CONCLUSIONS
Most WLWH can achieve good virological control and deliver vaginally. This will help them to maintain their future child bearing potential and reduce CS-related morbidity.