Pregnancy and Childbirth
If you are living with HIV and pregnant, or you want to have a child, HIV treatment can allow you to have an HIV-negative baby. Also, because people living with HIV who are on treatment and maintain an undetectable viral load do not transmit the virus to their sex partners, it is now easier than ever for people with HIV to conceive without worrying about passing the virus to an HIV-negative partner.
If you start HIV treatment before pregnancy and maintain an undetectable viral load throughout your pregnancy, you will not transmit HIV to your baby during pregnancy or delivery. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or considering getting pregnant, as you may need to change your HIV treatment. If you are not on treatment when you first get pregnant, starting HIV treatment as soon as possible dramatically lowers the chance of passing HIV to your baby.
After the baby is born, Canadian guidelines recommend feeding the baby formula. This is because HIV can be passed through breast milk even if the parent is on successful HIV treatment. People who have a desire to breastfeed (chestfeed) should talk to a trusted healthcare provider for help making the decision, and for monitoring and support if they choose to breastfeed (chestfeed).
To learn about pregnancy and childbirth for people living with HIV, check out:
Having an HIV-Negative Baby – The most important information that people with HIV need to know about pregnancy and infant feeding, including a list of free formula programs across Canada.
Growing Your Family: An introduction to pregnancy planning, surrogacy and adoption for people living with HIV – This resource provides an introduction to the options available for people with HIV who want to have children, including pregnancy, surrogacy and adoption.
Want to know more? Visit:
Is Formula Good for My Baby? – A booklet that helps people living with HIV to understand the Canadian infant feeding recommendations and also offers tips that have helped HIV-positive mothers prepare during pregnancy and adjust to the practical and emotional aspects of formula feeding after birth.
Canadian HIV Pregnancy Planning – Information about pregnancy planning for people living with HIV in Canada.