[HIV and pregnancy: 2013 guidelines from the French expert working group]

J Gynecol Obstet Biol Reprod (Paris). 2014 Sep;43(7):534-48. doi: 10.1016/j.jgyn.2014.01.006. Epub 2014 Jun 17.
[Article in French]


With effective antiretroviral therapy, the risk of mother to child transmission (MTCT) is now under 1%. The 2013 French guidelines emphasize early antiretroviral lifelong antiretroviral therapy. Thus, the current trend for women living with HIV is to take antiretroviral therapy before, during and after their pregnancies. A major issue today is the choice of antiretroviral drugs, to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of fetal exposure. This requires interdisciplinary care. The use of effective therapies permits gradual but profound changes in obstetric practice. When maternal plasma viral load is controlled (<50 copies/ml), obstetrical care can be more similar to standards in HIV-negative women. Prophylactic cesarean section is recommended when the viral load in late pregnancy is above 400 copies/mL. Intravenous zidovudine during labor is recommended only if the last maternal viral load is>400 copies/mL or in case of complications such as preterm delivery, bleeding or chorio-amnionitis during labor. In case of premature rupture of membranes before 34 weeks, a multidisciplinary decision should be made, based on gestational age and control of maternal viral load; if the woman is under antiretroviral therapy and especially if her viral load is undetectable, steroids and antibiotics should be offered and pregnancy can be continued except in case of signs or symptoms of chorio-amnionitis. Breastfeeding is not recommended in women living with HIV in France, as in industrialized countries. Prophylaxis in the newborn is usually zidovudine for 1 month. In case of significant exposure to HIV perinatally, in particular when, maternal viral load is>1000 copies/mL, prophylactic combination therapy is recommended. Monitoring of the child is necessary to determine whether or not it is free of HIV infection and to monitor possible adverse effects of perinatal exposure to antiretroviral drugs.

Keywords: Accouchement; Antiretroviral therapy; Antirétroviraux; Childbirth; French guidelines; Grossesse; HIV; Pregnancy; Recommandations; VIH.

Publication types

  • English Abstract
  • Practice Guideline

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Retroviral Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications
  • HIV Infections / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / drug therapy*


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents