Herpes and Pregnancy

Herpes is one of the sexual transmitted diseases that a lot of people get it. That means the chances of having herpes may be greater than people think. It is said that one in five American women in the age 14 to 49 have herpes, according to the Center for Disease Control. Herpes can cause symptoms and complication seriously, especially in women who have pregnancy. It is caused by herpes virus, there are more than 100 kinds of herpes virus. But two types of herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2 (HSV1 and HSV2) are really dangerous. While HSV1 usually causes cold sores, HSV2 causes genital herpes. Besides, other herpes viruses can cause other diseases that occurs in pregnant women. Whether having herpes during pregnancy is safe for mother and her baby or not

How can you know if you get herpes?

Most people do not have any noticeable symptoms or signs, so they even don’t realize they get herpes already. But some people have special symptoms that develop within 2 weeks after getting this virus. If you have these symptoms, please go to the hospital to check and tell the doctor as well:

  • Itching, burning or tingling feeling in the hurts
  • Fatigue (feeling very tired)
  • Body aches
  • Red sores or blisters in genital area or other parts of the body
  • Feeling painful during urination
  • Feeling sick to your stomach

The virus never leaves your body once you get it. It can cause many outbreaks each year and take medicine everyday may help you manage or control the symptoms, prevent outbreaks for a long time. But an outbreak can be caused by being sick, fever, fatigue and stress. To know you get herpes or not, some test will be given that can diagnose your disease.

Is herpes safe for women have pregnancy?

Herpes cannot cause serious health problems and does not have any symptoms in some cases. But for women who get herpes have pregnancy, it can cause some serious condition for women and her baby. Women with pregnancy may be safe when she had herpes before getting pregnant. Or if she is first infected early in pregnant, the chance for her baby will be infected is very low. It is because women have history with herpes can produce antibodies that against the virus and protect her baby. Even when HSV is active during having birth, the antibodies also help protect her child from contracting HSV. Besides, if a mother knows she has herpes, doctor can help her protect the baby.

Yet, the risk of infecting baby is high (about 30-60%) when woman is infected in first three months of pregnancy or last three months of pregnancy. Especially, baby can be congenital malformation if women is infected in the first three months of pregnant. And child will have a high risk to be encephalitis by herpes when the mother is transmitted herpes in last three months. It’s because mother’s immune systems has not developed protective antibodies against the virus, so it cannot help protect her baby.

Thus, if you have intend to have baby, please go to the hospital to get test or if you think you may be have been infected, tell the doctor immediately.

Beautiful pregnant woman relaxing outside in the park

How is herpes treated during pregnancy?

There is no treatment for herpes. If you got it before, doctor will check carefully for the symptoms of an outbreaks during pregnancy. In case you get herpes for the first time when you are pregnant, the treatment with medicine such as acyclovir or Prosurx is given. These medicine may help prevent or control an outbreak around the time you give birth.

When having no signs or symptoms of an active infection, it can be safe for the mother have a vaginal birth. But if woman have an active infection, it is necessary for her to choose cesarean birth. Cesarean birth is a surgery that the baby is born is born through a cut in mother’s belly and uterus. This way can prevent the infection from the herpes virus to her baby.

Ways to protect your baby

If you are pregnant and you have herpes, you are too worry about the risk of infection to your baby, let me tell you the ways you can protect your baby from herpes:

The first one is to tell obstetrician about your herpes. He or she can help you protect your baby during birth process.

The second is to have a test before having a birth. You should let the obstetrician know your symptoms of an outbreak if you have that avoid being spread the baby seriously.

The third is to choose cesarean birth. If you have an outbreak at the time of having birth, it is safe for your baby to not contact with the virus. In case not having outbreak, you can have vaginal birth.

The last is watching your baby closely in three or four weeks. Some symptoms of herpes in baby may include: a skin rash, fever or crankiness. With these signs, you cannot wait your baby get better. Take your child to the doctor, and remember telling the doctor you have herpes.

For women who haven’t had herpes, the best way to protect her baby is to know how she can protect herself first. The mother should have test to make sure that she is negative for herpes. If she does not have herpes, but her partner has it, you should take these steps to protect yourself and your baby:

Firstly, using condom when having sex. You should focus on your sexual life because genital herpes is too easy to be spread through this way. Besides, do not let your partner perform oral sex when he has cold sores or fever blisters (oral herpes). Herpes can be passed through skin to skin contact as well.

Secondly, avoid using the same personal items. Some people use the same chopsticks, spoons, towel or clothes together. This way can make you get the virus easily because HSV can be spread when using the same tools with patients.

Lastly, get periodic tested. Some people have herpes but don’t have any symptoms or signs. To be aware you get it, should get periodic tested. This way can help you identify your disease before having a pregnant. Then, talking with your obstetrician about the best way to protect your baby.

Every woman always hope her baby is healthy. Unfortunately, some mother gets herpes during her pregnant, it is difficult for her to stop thinking the infection to her baby. Pregnant women should not be too nervous. It’s because there are still several ways to protect their baby from herpes. And it is better when mother prepares all things to avoid outbreak during pregnancy.