Monday, April 15, 2024

Can I Get Pregnant If I Have Herpes

How Genital Herpes Affects Reproduction

Herpes and Pregnancy

The following important facts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will give you an additional perspective on genital herpes as you consider your options to get pregnant:

  • Genital herpes is common in the United States, affecting one in 16 people ages 14 to 49.
  • Herpes simplex type 2 causes most cases of genital herpes, while type 1 mostly infects the mouth and is responsible for “fever blisters.”
  • More women are infected than men, and men pass the disease to women more frequently than vice versa.
  • Most of those infected with herpes simplex have had minor or no active symptoms.
  • People infected with genital herpes only shed the virus 10% of the time when there are no lesions.

In the absence of lesions, a doctor can swab your genital area and send it to test for herpes simplex DNA to see if you are shedding the virus. However, because the virus only sheds 10% of the time, a negative test doesn’t mean you don’t ever shed virus.

How Can I Avoid Another Outbreak Of Genital Herpes

As the herpes virus stays in the nerves near where the infection first appeared, it will come back in the same area. Recurrent infections can be triggered by:

  • ultraviolet light
  • a weakened immune system for example if youre going through chemotherapy or HIV .

Obviously, a lot of these things are pretty difficult to avoid though. But the risk of genital herpes can be reduced by:

  • Using a condom every time you have sex . The condom needs to cover the infected area.
  • Not sharing sex toys .

This page was last reviewed in February 2018

Wanting To Use A Condom

Theres a lot of couples who want to use condoms no matter what. And thats ok if its your jam. The problem is that the condom is obviously going to prevent the sperm and the egg from meeting. Thats a problem. If youre in a situation where this is a problem I suggest talking to your partner and looking at the risk versus reward. If youre a male with herpes and dont have an outbreak, not taking the antiviral and not using a condom you have a 4% risk of transmitting herpes to your female partner. If youre a female with herpes and dont have an outbreak, dont use a condom and are not on the antivirals then you have a 10% chance of transmitting it to your partner.

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My Partner Has Herpes How Can I Avoid Getting It And And Still Have A Fulfilling Sex Life

I just found out the guy Ive been seeing for a couple weeks has herpes. Im full of questions, but one question I keep dwelling on is, how can people get pregnant without passing on herpes to their partner? How can I avoid getting herpes and still have a fulfilling sex life with him?

Its normal to have complicated feelings after you find out that your partner has herpes. Millions of people are living with herpes, and sharing your concerns with your partner and educating yourself on how its spread are good ways to protect yourself.

Genital herpes is spread from skin-to-skin contact with someone who has it including . Herpes can live on areas of your body that arent protected by condoms , so condoms wont always protect you from herpes. But they do lower your chances of getting herpes.

Here are other ways to avoid getting herpes from your partner:

  • Talk with your partner about taking herpes medicine every day, which can lower their chances of spreading herpes.

  • Dont have sex during a herpes outbreak, even with a condom. There may be sores on places the condom doesnt cover. Wait until the sores are totally gone, and the scabs heal and fall off.

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What If I Have A Herpes Outbreak While Pregnant

Herpes During Pregnancy: Symptoms, Causes, Risks &  Treatment

If you have a herpes outbreak while pregnant, treatment with acyclovir or valacyclovir is recommended. These drugs are generally considered to be safe during pregnancy. Oral medication is used for treatment unless the outbreak is severe.

If you have an outbreak or prodromal symptoms at the time of delivery, a C-section is recommended over vaginal delivery.

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Childbirth With Genital Herpes You Can Have A Normal Delivery With Genital Herpes

If you have caught genital herpes before becoming pregnant you can expect to give birth normally . This is stated in the 2014 Guidelines for herpes simplex and childbirth from the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynaecology together with the British Association for Sexual Health and HIV.

If you wish, you can take aciclovir 400 mg three times daily from 36 weeks on, to ensure you dont have an outbreak during the birth.

Why it is OK to have a normal delivery even when there is an outbreak of herpes?

Towards the end of pregnancy, babies in the womb receive antibodies to all the infections that their mothers have previously caught. These antibodies protect the baby from catching these viruses during childbirth and afterwards, longer when the mother breast feeds. After that, this protection fades away.

Common sense tells us: since humans began, women with cold sores have kissed their new babies repeatedly. No one worries that their babies will catch herpes and be affected. The baby of a woman with a genital infection might briefly touch the cold sore on her genitals on its way into the world once. See Neonatal herpes in the section below for when babies can have a problem,

Vaccines: Do Any Vaccinations Make Me Ineligible To Donate

Below are some rules for common vaccines and injections. With many, you will not be deferred from donating.

  • The COVID-19 vaccine is not required to donate. Receiving the COVID-19 vaccine does not affect your eligibility to give blood. Youre encouraged to donate as soon as you are feeling well.
  • If you received monoclonal antibodies , you are deferred for 3 months.
  • There is no deferral period after receiving a dose of the Shingles vaccine.

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Got Herpes When Contracted It Could Make All The Difference When It Comes To Your Baby’s Health

Most women think that having herpes during pregnancy is a fairly straightforward matter: If you have any sores when you go into labor, youll simply deliver by Cesarean section to avoid infecting your baby. Yet the issue is much more complicated than is often perceived.

For example, herpes is far more prevalent than is generally recognized, and many people dont know theyre infected or that they can contract the virus from a partner who has no symptoms. Whats more, few people realize that contracting herpes during pregnancy can be very dangerous to the baby.

Heres what every pregnant woman needs to know about this very common virus:

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Your chances of having herpes may be greater than you think…

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 16.2 percent of U.S. adults1 in 6have genital herpes caused by herpes simplex virus 2, or HSV-2. However, when you factor in the number of people who have genital herpes caused by HSV-1, the strain typically associated with fever blisters of the mouth, the number skyrockets to approximately 1 in 3, says David Kimberlin, M.D., a professor in the division of pediatric infectious diseases at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

And that may actually be a good thing.

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Contracting herpes while pregnant poses serious risk to a baby.

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There Are 2 Herpes Simplex Viruses That Can Cause Infection

I have herpes: Should I Worry?
  • One causes most genital herpes.
  • The other virus can also cause genital herpes but more often causes blisters of the mouth and lips.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that about 1 out of 6 people ages 14 to 49have genital herpes.

Women are more easily infected with herpes than men.

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How Can I Reduce The Risk To My Unborn Baby

Medication for you and your baby should help prevent or reduce the chance of your baby being seriously ill:

  • if your first episode is before 28 weeks of pregnancy, you may be offered antiviral treatment at that time and again from 36 weeks of pregnancy until your baby is born
  • if your first episode is at or after 28 weeks of pregnancy, you will be advised to continue your treatment until your baby is born.

If your first episode is late in pregnancy , you should be offered a planned caesarean section to reduce the chance of your baby getting neonatal herpes.

If your first episode is earlier in pregnancy, the risk to your baby is low and you should be able to have a vaginal birth. Talk to your midwife or doctor if you have any concerns.

Some people have no signs or symptoms at all. Some people just get a few blisters in the genital area, which are not particularly painful. Flare-ups are usually mild. An early-warning tingling sensation often happens before the flare-up occurs.

However, for some people, the symptoms can be very painful. This is particularly so if it is your first episode when you may also feel unwell and notice very painful sores or watery blisters.

Symptoms can occur within a short time of coming into contact with the virus or it may take many weeks, months or years before any signs or symptoms appear.

Genital Herpes And Early Pregnancy First And Second Trimester

Having a primary infection of genital herpes at this time will not affect the baby or cause a miscarriage. We now know there is no evidence for herpes causing a miscarriage when a mother catches genital herpes in the first three months although we used to think that there was an increased risk. Catching herpes will not cause miscarriage.

Having outbreaks during pregnancy is normal. These will not harm the baby. Some women have more outbreaks during pregnancy. You may choose to take aciclovir 400 mg three times daily from 36th week of pregnancy to ensure you dont have an outbreak at term.

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How Does Genital Herpes Spread

Herpes can be spread when an infected person has lesions blisters and open sores on their body or when you do not have any symptoms. Taking antiviral medicine can help you reduce the risk of spreading genital herpes to your sexual partners. You can also:

  • Inform your sexual partner that you have genital herpes.
  • Use a condom every time you have sex.
  • Refrain from having sex when you have symptoms.
  • Abstain from performing oral sex if you have blisters or open sores around your mouth.

How Do You Get Herpes

Help !! My gynecologist suspects herpes

Oral herpes can be spread by oral-to-oral contact like kissing or by sharing drinks.

The likelihood of contracting herpes from toilet seats, bedding, or swimming pools, or from sharing objects such as silverware, soap, or towels is low, but it is possible, says Dr. Benitez.

While an outbreak isnt necessary for herpes transmission, herpes is most contagious about 3 days before an outbreak this usually coincides with an itching or burning sensation or pain in the area where the outbreak will occur.

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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.

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Can I Still Have Sex If I Have Herpes

If you have herpes, you should talk to your sex partner about their risk. Using condoms may help lower this risk but it will not get rid of the risk completely. Having sores or other symptoms of herpes can increase your risk of spreading the disease. Even if you do not have any symptoms, you can still infect your sex partners.

You may have concerns about how genital herpes will impact your health, sex life, and relationships. While herpes is not curable, it is important to know that it is manageable with medicine. Daily suppressive therapy can lower your risk of spreading the virus to others. Talk to a healthcare provider about your concerns and treatment options.

A genital herpes diagnosis may affect how you will feel about current or future sexual relationships. Knowing how to talk to sexual partners about STDs is important.

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What Is The Dosage Of Acyclovir Vs Abreva


Acyclovir may be taken with or without food.

  • Adult oral doses for treating genital herpes are 200 mg every 4 hours for 7-10 days or 400 mg three times daily for 5-10 days.
  • Herpes Zoster is treated with 800 mg every 4 hours for 7 to 10 days.
  • The dose for treating chicken pox is 800 mg 4 times daily. The usual adult intravenous dose is 5-10 mg/kg every 8 hours for 7-10 days.


Directions: adults and children 12 years or over:

  • wash hands before and after applying cream
  • apply to affected area on face or lips at the first sign of cold sore/feverblister .
  • early treatment ensures the best results
  • rub in gently but completely
  • use 5 times a day until healed

children under 12 years:

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I Have Genital Herpes How Can I Prevent My Baby From Getting The Virus

HSV 1 and 2 Prevention

Firstly, make sure you tell your health care provider that you have genital herpes. Antiviral medication may be offered in late pregnancy to prevent or reduce recurrence. As labour approaches, inspect your genital area for any signs of a breakout and your health care provider will do the same. If you have an active outbreak, delivering by C-section instead of vaginally significantly reduces the high risk of transmitting the virus to your baby. Depending on the situation, you and/or your baby may be treated with anti-viral medications. If you have a vaginal delivery, some measures can prevent transmission, such as leaving membranes intact and avoiding instrument use and fetal scalp monitoring. After delivery, check the baby often for signs of infection, such as blisters, fever, or lack of appetite.

If your partner has HSV and you dont, use condoms every time you have sexual contact, even if your partner has no symptoms. Dont have sexual contact if your partner has an active outbreak and consider abstaining in the third trimester even if your partner doesnt have an active outbreak. It is recommended that you be tested early in pregnancy for HSV, and then again at 32-34 weeks gestation.

The greatest risk of infection to your baby happens if you acquire a new genital herpes infection late in pregnancy. In this case, delivering by C-section is the safest option.

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What If I Have An Sti That Cant Be Cured

It can be a very anxious time if you find out you have a STI that cant be cured. It is possible though for women living with an incurable STI to get pregnant safely and have a healthy baby, as long as the STI is treated and managed well.

Talk to your doctor or nurse. Its important that you understand your condition and what you need to do to stay healthy and get pregnant safely

STIs such as HIV and herpes can be treated with antiviral and other medicine to bring down the risk of passing the infection to your baby so make sure that your midwife or doctor know if you have something.

Always check with your doctor or nurse that any medications you are prescribed are suitable for conception.

Remember that even if you have no STIs when you conceive, its still advised to practice safe sex through your pregnancy,

Myth #: A Blood Test Is The Best Way To Know If You Have Herpes

Blood tests are not always accurate and testing for herpes can be tricky. It can take two weeks to six months after being exposed to herpes before it is detected in the blood. To make matters more complicated, if you are low risk for herpes and asymptomatic, it increases your risk of a false positive result. Because of this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends against routine testing for herpes unless you or your partner have symptoms. The most accurate test is when you are able to take a swab sample from a new herpes lesion, but often times the diagnosis is made by a clinician based on your history and report of symptoms.

Because the blood test can be expensive and inaccurate, it is not typically included in a sexually transmitted disease evaluation unless you ask your provider for it specifically.

In short, if you dont have symptoms, you dont necessarily need a blood test. If you do experience an outbreak, a skin swab not a blood test is your best bet for confirmation.

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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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