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Pregnancy Topics..

You are here : home > Pregnancy > Complications during Pregnancy > Herpes

Genital Herpes during Pregnancy

Genital Herpes during Pregnancy

Contracting Genital Herpes during pregnancy can prove fatal to a newborn in some cases. For information on what to in case of an outbreak of genital herpes during pregnancy, its symptoms and treatments, read on.

Genital Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease that causes sores in the genital area. It gets transmitted to another person during unprotected sex and can be passed on through oral, vaginal or anal sex. The virus that causes genital herpes cannot live for long outside the body and so getting infected from outside sources like a toilet seat is not possible.

Genital Herpes during Pregnancy

Despite herpes being a sexually transmitted disease, babies can contract it while passing through the infected birth canal during delivery. While herpes is merely annoying for adults, it can have serious implications for newborns. However, there is no need to panic. Many women with genital herpes have given birth to healthy babies. There is a very small risk of your baby catching infection, but if it does get infected, it can be fatal as well. Therefore, to be on the safe side, you should inform your doctor in advance if you or your partner had ever had herpes. If you find any of the symptoms, you will have to take extra care and follow the instructions of your doctor all through the pregnancy period.

Can Genital Herpes harm my Baby?

Statistics demonstrate that the chances of infection in newborns are 1 in 3000 to 1 in 20000 deliveries. If you have a recurrent herpes infection during pregnancy, your baby has only a 2% to 3% chance of contracting it. Even among mothers who develop their first herpes outbreak closer to the time of delivery, 60% to 75% of the babies will escape infection.

If you test positive for herpes at the time of going into labour, your doctor is likely to perform a caesarean section. This greatly reduces the chances of the infection being transmitted to the baby.  If your baby is infected, treatment with an antiviral drug should reduce the risk of permanent damage.

Symptoms of Genital Herpes

Although signs vary from person to person, the symptoms of an outbreak of herpes causes a lot of discomfort. In some cases, women who have been infected with herpes may not have sores and may therefore be unaware that they have been exposed to that virus. In most cases however, the most prominent symptoms that indicate that you have contracted herpes are as follows:

  • Genital itching or pain followed by sores that appear in few hours or few days after getting infected;

  • Sores that initially look like red bumps but soon turn into red, watery blisters;

  • Pain while urinating;

  • Open sores that sometimes bleed;

  • Fever, headaches and muscle pain;

  • Swollen lymph nodes

How to avoid genital herpes during pregnancy?

The best and only sure-fire way to prevent getting herpes is abstinence. Using a latex condom each time of sexual intercourse can help prevent herpes to a great extent. Women who do not have any history of having herpes should find out whether their partner is herpes free or not. If your partner gets cold sores or oral herpes, make sure he does not perform oral sex on you. If one is unsure, it is advisable to avoid sex completely, more so during the third trimester. This is because if herpes is contracted before the third trimester, your body not only develops antibodies to fight herpes but also passes on the antibodies to the foetus through the placenta thereby decreasing the risk of your baby contracting herpes to only 1%. Some doctors recommend that all women should get tested for herpes during pregnancy, but you can consult your doctor for more details.

Treatment for genital herpes during pregnancy

If any woman is taking antiviral drugs for herpes, she should consult her doctor whether she should continue with it during pregnancy or not. Your doctor will discuss the risks and benefits of taking the medicine with you and then decide whatever is best for you. The doctor can prescribe medication to clear up the painful sores. He will suggest you to keep them clean and dry and will also suggest you other methods to ease the discomfort.

If you were infected with herpes in the first or second trimester, vaginal delivery is still an option. But if you were infected in the third trimester, the doctor will perform a caesarean section to ensure that the baby does not get infected with herpes.

What happens if the newborn gets herpes?

Usually herpes affects skin, eyes or mouth of a newborn baby and if given proper intravenous injections, he will eventually do well. However, some newborns do have recurrent eruptions of herpes and other long term problems.

If you find that your newborn has fever or is lethargic or irritated, consult your doctor immediately. It is always good to take precautions regarding several aspects during pregnancy. Keep your doctor well informed about every medical fact about you, your partner and family.

Do you agree that all women should get tested for herpes before getting pregnant? Do you worry about your unborn baby contracting herpes? Do you know how herpes can harm newborns?
Discuss here.

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Maria.4 years ago
Good day everyone, i'm Maria, If getting herpes cure was that easy then why do a lot of people still suffer from herpes?. i was diagnosed of herpes back in 2013 and i was also told it has no cure, i have been leaving with it since then, but i kept praying and doing everything possible to get cured, so i never stopped doing research about finding a cure, i came across testimonies about people getting cured through herbal medication, and i have always believe in herbs and its medical properties, after doing so many research about it i found Dr. ####### and i discovered he was a professional in herbal medication and he has also helped many people, i contacted him through his , we talked on phone and i confirmed he was genuine, i did all what he told me to do, i received the medicine, used it as he has prescribed, and glory be to God almighty i am completely cured, i went back to my doctor to confirm it. Do not be deceived THERE IS A CURE FOR HERPES, doctors might tell you there is no cure but WITH HERBAL MEDICATION THERE IS A CURE and if you need it contact Dr. ####### Email: ****@****.com
england.10 years ago
i am 16 years old and i think i have genital herpes, i am not sure but ive had about 2 of the symptoms..i will be gettin checked out but i felt like just letting you know, i have done research on it being very scared for my baby but i have found that its not very likely for my baby to catch herpes so im very very happy..i dont mind going through a c section 2 make sure my baby is alright aswell. i think my partner at the moment is the person who gave it to me from a previous relationship but i dont mind as he is 23 and i love him loads. i am not so worried about it now, plus i may not even have it. i need to go and get checked out but we will see and im sure my partner would tell me if he had it. thank u for listenin xxxxx
Rashi.10 years ago
how does one contract herpes in the first place?
Rubella.10 years ago
i understand that rubella & varicella vaccines are advised to those who are planning for a baby and we are not supposed to conceive within 3 months of vaccination.i woud like to know the repurcussion of conceiving within 3 months of taking rubella\varicella vaccines?
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