Controversies exist on the effect of pregnancy on human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. A cross-sectional section study was conducted to compare the prevalence and genotype distribution of cervical HPV infection between pregnant and non-pregnant women in Hong Kong. Cervical samples were collected from 308 pregnant women and from the same number of age-matched controls recruited from a cervical cancer screening center located at the same hospital. HPV was detected by the polymerase chain reaction, followed by genotype identification by restriction fragment length polymorphism and direct sequencing analyses. The prevalence of HPV for pregnant women was 10.1%, without significant variation with age, gestation, gravidity and parity. The prevalence of HPV for non-pregnant group was 11.4% and did not show significant difference when compared to the pregnant group either by overall or age-stratified subgroup analyses. When the analysis was stratified according to the risk-type of HPV infection, still no significant difference between pregnant and non-pregnant groups was observed (all types: 10.1 vs. 11.4%, P = 0.602; high-risk types: 5.8 vs. 7.8%, P = 0.338; low-risk types: 1.0 vs. 2.9%, P = 0.080; unknown-risk types: 3.2% vs. 1.3%, P = 0.105). The results of this study show no evidence for an influence of pregnancy on HPV prevalence, and a majority of HPV-infected pregnant women had normal cervical cytology. HPV positive results in pregnant women per se should be managed conservatively. J. Med. Virol. 67:583–588, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.