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Date: 28 November 2023
Care in pregnancy
The Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham HIV Service is a multidisciplinary team clinic that provides care and support for pregnant women infected with HIV. The issue of confidentiality and consent is of paramount importance for all the members of the team.
Offer treatment and medical advice on HIV disease and pregnancy. The team is made up of a GU specialist and an obstetrician
The following may be discussed with you during your pregnancy:
- Antiretroviral therapy: all pregnant women will receive antiretroviral medication during pregnancy. For those who have an otherwise strong immune system, medication will be for the duration of pregnancy, to reduce the risk of passing the virus onto the baby. For others, whose immune systems have been significantly weakened by the HIV virus, the medication started during pregnancy will be continued after the baby is born. This will ensure the mothers immune system is strengthened along with reducing the risk of the virus being passed onto the baby
- Caesarean section: a Caesarean section can further reduce the risk of passing on the virus to the baby and may be discussed as an option if the virus has not been well controlled during pregnancy
- Feeding your baby: HIV can pass through the breast milk, so all mothers should bottle feed their babies to reduce the risk of the baby being infected. Your midwife will be able to talk to you more about feeding your baby
- Assessment and advice on other illnesses related to pregnancy, HIV and its treatment
- Interpretation of blood results. All pregnant women will be screened during their pregnancy for hepatitis B and C
- Referral to appropriate healthcare professional with patient's consent
Offers advice on the importance of safe sex and use of condoms. They will organise a sexual health screening during pregnancy to ensure that any infections are not passed onto your baby. They also offer counselling or refer to appropriate counsellors. The assessments will mostly focus on the patient's health and the pregnancy.
Support with social issues including housing and immigration issues.
We have a dedicated HIV pharmacist who will provide counselling on the importance of taking medication, adherence, side effects and the benefits of taking medication to prevent mother-to-child transmission. The Pharmacist is available during HIV clinic times.
A well balanced diet is encouraged for pregnant women; we have a dietician who will provide a nutritional assessment during pregnancy. They will offer advice on food safety and hygiene, food supplements, use of vitamins during pregnancy and how to manage symptoms of vomiting, diarrhoea and loss of appetite.
Pregnancy can be a busy time. The nurses in clinic are available to offer support, advice and can answer any questions related to your nursing.
- Blood tests
We work closely with different charity organisations in providing care and support for our patients. Should any support be required, a referral with patient's consent can be sent to these organisations to offer more support.
Information about travelling to, staying at and getting around the hospital.
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