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HIV Med. 2008 Jan;9(1):6-13. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1293.2008.00520.x.

Increased rate of prematurity associated with antenatal antiretroviral therapy in a German/Austrian cohort of HIV-1-infected women.

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  • 1Department of General Paediatrics, Charité Universitaetsmedizin Berlin, Berlin, Germany.



The aim of the study was to assess the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes after antenatal antiretroviral therapy in a well-defined prospective cohort of nontransmitting HIV-infected women.


Prospective monitoring of 183 mother-child pairs from 13 centres in Germany and Austria, delivering between 1995 and 2001, was carried out. Following German-Austrian guidelines recommending an elective Caesarean section (CS) at 36 weeks, prematurity was defined as <36 weeks' gestation for these analyses.


Of 183 mother-child pairs, 42% were exposed to antenatal monotherapy and 17% to dual therapy. Of the 75 women exposed to highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART), 21 (28%) received protease inhibitor (PI)-based HAART and the remaining 54 received nonnucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor-based HAART. In multivariable analysis (176 pregnancies), PI-based HAART exposure during pregnancy was associated with an increased risk of premature delivery [adjusted odds ratio 3.40; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.13-10.2; P=0.029, compared with monotherapy]. Congenital abnormalities affected 3.3% infants. Perinatally, 18.9% of children (34 of 179) had respiratory problems requiring interventions, which were associated with prematurity but not with type of treatment exposure. From adjusted regression analysis, the mean birth weight z-score for children exposed to HAART with PI (+0.46; 95% CI 0.01-0.92; P=0.047) or dual therapy (+0.43; 95% CI 0.03-0.82; P=0.034) was slightly but significantly higher than that for those exposed to monotherapy; head circumference was appropriate for gestational age and there were no significant differences between treatment groups.


Use of antenatal PI-based HAART initiated before or during pregnancy was associated with a significantly increased risk of premature delivery at <36 weeks' gestation. The overall crude prematurity rate was 34% (63 of 183; 95% CI 28-42).

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