Conventional wisdom has long held that human papillomavirus (HPV) prevalence is increased in pregnancy. We examined cervical swabs of 375 women for HPV DNA using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and ViraPap with an expanded probe range. Of this population, 115 were pregnant (42 in the first trimester, 46 in the second, and 27 in the third) and 100 were postpartum. The control population consisted of 160 women who were otherwise similar to the pregnant population but were not pregnant or postpartum. Crude associations were examined between HPV prevalence at defined high, low, and overall levels and the pregnancy status. Multivariate analysis indicated no statistically significant association between the prevalence at any level of infection and pregnancy status. As expected, associations were found between measures of HPV prevalence and both Papanicolaou smear results and warts seen on examination. No association was found for race, smoking behavior, or number of sexual partners and HPV prevalence. The estimated risk of an HPV infection decreased as the age of the women increased. We conclude that a significant relationship between pregnancy and HPV prevalence has yet to be established.
© 1992 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists