Maternal human papillomavirus infection during pregnancy and preterm delivery: A mother-child cohort study in Norway and Sweden

Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2023 Mar;102(3):344-354. doi: 10.1111/aogs.14509. Epub 2023 Jan 16.


Introduction: Human papillomavirus (HPV) infection is common in women of reproductive age. Infection and inflammation are leading causes for preterm delivery (PTD), but the role of HPV infection in PTD and prelabor rupture of membranes (PROM) is unclear. We aimed to explore whether HPV infection during pregnancy in general, and high-risk-HPV (HR-HPV) infection specifically, increased the risk of PTD, preterm prelabor rupture of membranes (PPROM), PROM at term, and/or chorioamnionitis.

Material and methods: In pregnant women, who were participating in a prospective multicenter cohort study from a general population in Norway and Sweden (PreventADALL, NCT02449850), HPV DNA was analyzed in available urine samples at mid-gestation (16-22 weeks) and at delivery, and in the placenta after delivery with Seegene Anyplex II HPV28 PCR assay. The risk of PTD, PPROM, PROM, and chorioamnionitis was analyzed using unadjusted and adjusted logistic regression analyses for any 28 HPV genotypes, including 12 HR-HPV genotypes, compared with HPV-negative women. Further, subgroups of HPV (low-risk/possibly HR-HPV, HR-HPV-non-16 and HR-HPV-16), persistence of HR-HPV from mid-gestation to delivery, HR-HPV-viral load, and presence of multiple HPV infections were analyzed for the obstetric outcomes. Samples for HPV analyses were available from 950 women with singleton pregnancies (mean age 32 years) at mid-gestation and in 753 also at delivery.

Results: At mid-gestation, 40% of women were positive for any HPV and 24% for HR-HPV. Of the 950 included women, 23 had PTD (2.4%), nine had PPROM (0.9%), and six had chorioamnionitis (0.6%). Of the term pregnancies, 25% involved PROM. The frequency of PTD was higher in HR-HPV-positive women (8/231, 3.5%) than in HPV-negative women (13/573, 2.3%) at mid-gestation, but the association was not statistically significant (odds ratio 1.55; 95% confidence interval 0.63-3.78). Neither any HPV nor subgroups of HPV at mid-gestation or delivery, nor persistence of HR-HPV was significantly associated with increased risk for PTD, PPROM, PROM, or chorioamnionitis. No HPV DNA was detected in placentas of women with PTD, PPROM or chorioamnionitis.

Conclusions: HPV infection during pregnancy was not significantly associated with increased risk for PTD, PPROM, PROM, or chorioamnionitis among women from a general population with a low incidence of adverse obstetric outcomes.

Keywords: HPV; delivery; infections; preterm birth; rupture of membranes.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chorioamnionitis* / epidemiology
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Fetal Membranes, Premature Rupture* / epidemiology
  • Human Papillomavirus Viruses
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Mother-Child Relations
  • Papillomavirus Infections* / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Premature Birth* / epidemiology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Sweden / epidemiology

Supplementary concepts

  • Preterm Premature Rupture of the Membranes
  • Alphapapillomavirus 2

Associated data