Monday, May 27, 2024

Are Pregnant Women Tested For Herpes

What Happens During An Hsv Test

Herpes and Pregnancy

HSV testing is usually done as a swab test, blood test, or lumbar puncture. The type of test you get will depend on your symptoms and health history.

  • For a swab test, a health care provider will use a swab to collect fluid and cells from a herpes sore.
  • For a blood test, a health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.
  • A lumbar puncture, also called a spinal tap, is only done if your provider thinks you may have an infection of the brain or spinal cord. During a spinal tap:
  • You will lie on your side or sit on an exam table.
  • A health care provider will clean your back and inject an anesthetic into your skin, so you won’t feel pain during the procedure. Your provider may put a numbing cream on your back before this injection.
  • Once the area on your back is completely numb, your provider will insert a thin, hollow needle between two vertebrae in your lower spine. Vertebrae are the small backbones that make up your spine.
  • Your provider will withdraw a small amount of cerebrospinal fluid for testing. This will take about five minutes.
  • Your provider may ask you to lie on your back for an hour or two after the procedure. This may prevent you from getting a headache afterward.

How Can I Protect My Newborn From Getting Herpes

If your partner has herpes and you dont, do not have sex and oral sex the last few weeks of pregnancy. Condoms can reduce the risk of transmission but arent 100% effective. Theres no reason to risk a new infection close to delivery.

In the unlikely event your baby has been exposed, well treat the baby with antiviral medications. HSV cant be passed through breast milk, so unless you have sores or lesion on your breasts, breastfeeding is safe.

With visitors, do not allow anyone who has a cold sore or has had one recently to hold your baby. Same goes for people who have a cold or virus. Insist that anyone who wants to hold or touch your newborn wash their hands first this should be the norm anyway due to COVID-19.

Genital herpes is a common condition, and we are well-equipped to help reduce your babys risks. If you or your partner has a history of herpes, talk with your Ob/Gyn. We are eager to help you have a safe pregnancy and delivery.

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Genital Herpes In Pregnancy

Herpes infections are only rarely passed on to babies during childbirth. If a woman already had herpes viruses inside her body at the start of pregnancy, there’s no reason why she shouldnt give birth naturally unless there are signs of an outbreak shortly before she goes into labor.

Herpes infections can be life-threatening for newborn babies. Because of this, many women who have genital herpes are afraid of passing herpes viruses on to their child while giving birth. But this only rarely happens.

How best to deal with genital herpes in pregnancy, and whether a natural birth is possible, will depend on

  • whether there are any signs of a genital herpes outbreak shortly before the birth and
  • when the woman became infected with the virus.

The risk of infection is much smaller if the woman already had genital herpes before, or at the beginning of, pregnancy. This is because her immune system will have had a chance to produce antibodies to the virus. The mother passes these antibodies on to her unborn child through her placenta, giving him or her a certain amount of protection.

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How Does Genital Herpes Affect A Pregnant Woman And Her Baby

Neonatal herpes is one of the most serious complications of genital herpes.5,16 Healthcare providers should ask all pregnant women if they have a history of genital herpes.11 Herpes infection can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy or childbirth, or babies may be infected shortly after birth, resulting in a potentially fatal neonatal herpes infection. 17 Infants born to women who acquire genital herpes close to the time of delivery and are shedding virus at delivery are at a much higher risk for developing neonatal herpes, compared with women who have recurrent genital herpes . 16,18-20 Thus, it is important that women avoid contracting herpes during pregnancy. Women should be counseled to abstain from intercourse during the third trimester with partners known to have or suspected of having genital herpes. 5,11

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How Common Is Herpes Among Pregnant Women?

What Is Genital Herpes?

  • The genital herpes virus can be active on the surface of the skin with symptoms and a visible outbreak or without any visible signs or symptoms.

  • There are many symptoms that can be associated with the virus such as itching, redness, bumps, tingling, and cuts in the genital area/boxer short area.

  • It is possible that what you think are yeast infections, urinary tract infections, or vaginal discharge actually may be cases of genital herpes.

  • Remember, there is no cure for herpes. However treatment options are available to treat this disease.

  • Who Has Genital Herpes?

  • One in five Americans over the age of 14 has the genital herpes virus, that is approximately 45 million people.

  • And when you consider that among American adults who have the genital herpes virus, 9 out of 10 do not even know they have it.

  • Anyone who is sexually activeeven with just one personcan get GH there are up to one million new cases each year.

  • You may want to find out if your symptoms are actually what you think they are.

  • Why Is It Important to the Pregnant Woman?

  • If you have the genital herpes virus, you are at a risk of spreading herpes to your newborn at the time of delivery.

  • What Are the Risks to the Baby?

  • If the baby gets the herpes virus, also called neonatal herpes, the baby usually gets sick during the first one to two weeks of life.

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    Is There Anything Else I Need To Know About An Hsv Test

    The best way to prevent genital herpes or another STD is to not have sex. If you are sexually active, you can reduce your risk of infection by

    • Being in a long-term relationship with one partner who has tested negative for STDs
    • Using condoms correctly every time you have sex

    If you’ve been diagnosed with genital herpes, condom use can reduce your risk of spreading the infection to others.

    How Is Hsv Treated During Pregnancy Or Breastfeeding

    You can treat cold sores and genital herpes with:

    • aciclovir cream, available from a pharmacist without prescription
    • aciclovir or valaciclovir tablets, for which you need a prescription

    These ‘antiviral’ drugs are known to be safe for pregnant and breastfeeding women and are effective most of the time.

    Famciclovir tablets are not recommended to take during pregnancy. Speak to your doctor if the cold sore is severe.

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    How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Getting An Std While Pregnant

    If you are sexually active, you can do the following things to lower your chances of getting chlamydia:

    • Being in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who has been tested and has negative STD test results
    • Using latex condoms the right way every time you have sex.

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    Women taking antiviral drugs for herpes either daily suppressive therapy or occasional therapy for outbreaks should consult their doctor about whether to take the drugs during pregnancy. The answer is not set in stone: You and your doctor have to discuss the risks and benefits to decide whats right for you.

    For pregnant women with a history of genital herpes, the doctor might recommend daily doses of an antiviral medication during the month before their due date.

    Herpes infection in a newborn is also serious. Do not allow anyone with a cold sore on the mouth to kiss the baby. If you have a cold sore, dont kiss the baby, and wash hands with soap and water before touching the baby.

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    Managing Genital Herpes During Pregnancy

    If youre pregnant and you have genital herpes, you may be concerned about the risk of spreading the infection to your baby. Be reassured that the risk is extremely smallespecially if you have had herpes for some time. The following steps can help make the risk even smaller:

    Remember, the odds are strongly in favor of your having a healthy baby.

    Should We Check Every Expecting Mother For Herpes

    Does this mean that we should test expecting mothers for HSV-2 DNA? As we mentioned earlier, many women are infected with HSV-2 without being aware of it and yet, the majority of births proceed without any complications and no signs of genital herpes infection among their children. This is due to the fact that the risk of transmission of mothers who became infected with HSV-2 prior to pregnancy is very low. The situation is quite different in mothers who are infected with genital herpes during pregnancy for the first time, as they lack the antibodies to fight the disease resulting in a much higher risk of transmission to the child. These cases result in the mother taking antiviral medications to decrease the replication ability of the virus and reduce the likelihood of an outbreak and it may result in them delivery their child via a surgery known as a cesarean section which also decreases the risk of infection.

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    How Does Herpes Affect Pregnancy

    A pregnant person usually experiences the same herpes symptoms as nonpregnant individuals.

    Around 75% of women with herpes will experience a flare-up during pregnancy, but there is no evidence that pregnancy triggers flare-ups.

    If a person has herpes for the first time while pregnant, the risks to an unborn fetus are higher than if they have caught herpes before being pregnant. Initial herpes infections are also usually more severe than recurrent infections.

    A doctor may prescribe antiviral drugs, such as acyclovir, to treat herpes during pregnancy. These can cause side effects in some people.

    , including brain damage, eye issues, or even infant death.

    The risk of neonatal herpes is highest when a pregnant person contracts HSV in the third trimester of their pregnancy. The risk is also higher if a pregnant person has an outbreak around the time of childbirth. During natural childbirth, a baby can come into contact with the virus as they move through the cervix and vaginal canal.

    The risk of neonatal herpes is lower if a person develops herpes before or at the beginning of pregnancy. The body will have enough time to produce protective antibodies, which the pregnant individual will pass on to the child through the placenta.

    What Are The Symptoms Of Neonatal Herpes

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    Neonatal herpes is a serious viral infection that can, sadly, be fatal . There are three subgroups of neonatal herpes depending on the site of infection:

    • skin, eye and/or mouth
    • affecting central nervous system
    • infection thats spread and involves multiple organs.

    If neonatal herpes is just on the skin, eye and/or mouth, it has the best chance of being cured. If neonatal herpes has spread to multiple organs, thats when it can be much more serious .

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    What Is The Treatment For Genital Herpes During Pregnancy

    If you have genital herpes, you may be prescribed an oral antiviral medication, such as acyclovir, valacyclovir, or famciclovir starting at around 35 weeks to help reduce the chances that youll have an outbreak of genital herpes at the time of delivery. The drugs cant cure genital herpes, but they can help speed up healing if you have an outbreak of genital herpes and suppress future outbreaks while you get ready to have your baby.

    As your labor begins, your doctor will carefully check for any genital herpes lesions blisters or sores. If you dont have any signs of an active outbreak of genital herpes when labor starts, you will probably be able to have a vaginal delivery.

    If there are genital herpes lesions present during your labor, you will likely need to have a cesarean delivery to prevent tranmission of the herpes virus to the baby during delivery. Your doctor will discuss your options with you prior to your due date.

    Your risk factors for contracting genital herpes are the same during pregnancy as they would normally be. Your risk factors for HSV are linked to being directly exposed to the virus. Risk factors include:

    How Can A Baby Get Herpes

    The most common mode of transmission to a baby is from the birth canal of an infected mother. However, the baby could also be infected if a person with an active cold sore kissed the baby. If a baby contracts herpes in the first month of life, the infection can be quite serious. It can cause eye infections, throat infections, nerve damage, and death.

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    How Do I Protect My Baby From Herpes

    Herpes can cause serious problems in a baby, such as infections to the eyes and throat, brain damage and even death.

    A newborn baby can catch HSV-1 and HSV-2 from being kissed or touched by someone with cold sores, or during childbirth.

    Fortunately, most babies born to women who carry the virus are not affected. But if you or your partner has a cold sore or genital herpes, talk to your doctor about keeping it under control during the pregnancy and after the birth. It is also important to treat these conditions aggressively while you are breastfeeding.

    It’s important to maintain strict hygiene habits when caring for a new baby if you, or anyone in close contact with the baby, have cold sores.

    If you have cold sores, you should:

    • cover cold sores when you’re around the baby
    • avoid kissing your baby until the sores are completely healed
    • avoid touching the cold sores then touching your baby
    • wash your hands thoroughly before touching your baby

    Infection Before Or At The Beginning Of Pregnancy

    Benefits of Herpes Testing

    Women who become infected with herpes before pregnancy, or in the first three months of pregnancy, only rarely infect their child with it. One big study found that 1 out of 100 babies became infected during childbirth.

    Pregnant women who have genital herpes should talk to their doctor about it. He or she can then check the skin for signs of an outbreak shortly before the birth. Its also important to tell the doctor if there are any early signs of an outbreak, such as tingling in the genital area, around the time of the birth. If there are no signs of an outbreak, theres no reason why the woman shouldn’t give birth naturally. If there are, she is usually advised to have a Cesarean section. This greatly lowers the risk of infecting the baby.

    It is estimated that about 13 out of 100 pregnant women who have genital herpes have an outbreak at the time of the birth. The risk of this happening can be reduced by preventive treatment with antiviral medication, which is then taken every day from 35 weeks of pregnancy until the birth. This also increases the chances of the woman being able to have a natural birth. Research has found that Cesarean sections were carried out in

    • 13 out of 100 people who didnt have preventive treatment with antiviral medication, compared to
    • only 4 out of 100 women who did have preventive antiviral treatment.

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    How Is Genital Herpes Treated During Pregnancy

    You should take acyclovir or valaciclovir tablets, as above.

    If it’s your first outbreak of genital herpes, your baby may be more at risk because you haven’t had time to develop immune protection against the virus, which also helps protect the baby.

    Some women experiencing an outbreak of genital herpes might be advised to have a caesarean. This would prevent the herpes virus passing from mother to baby during a vaginal birth. But most women in Australia with genital herpes do give birth safely to healthy babies vaginally.

    It’s often recommended that women who have ever had genital herpes take antiviral tablets prior to the birth, even if the herpes isn’t active at the time.

    Talk to your doctor or midwife about the best course of action for your situation.

    What Happens If I Get Cold Sores Or Genital Herpes During Pregnancy

    Having the HSV virus does not affect your chance of becoming pregnant.

    It is quite common for women to have a cold sore during their pregnancy, even if they havent had one for a long time. Cold sores should not affect your unborn baby. But they are infectious, so its a good idea to treat them.

    Genital herpes should not affect the baby if you have your first outbreak or it comes back in the first 34 weeks. But it can be transferred to your baby during the birth, especially if its your first outbreak.

    If you’ve ever had a cold sore or genital herpes and you become pregnant, or you develop these conditions during pregnancy, it’s important to tell your doctor or midwife about it. Together you can make a plan for managing herpes during pregnancy and birth.

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