What If My Partner Has Herpes
Since contracting genital herpes in late pregnancy puts you at heightened risk of transmitting the virus to your baby, its important to take precautions.
If you are uninfected and your partner has genital herpes, here are some steps to take:
- Tell your provider that your partner has genital herpes.
- Abstain from sexual contact during an active outbreak and use latex condoms and dental dams at all other times. Condoms do not eliminate the risk of contracting the virus, but they reduce it.
- Ask your partner to talk to his or her provider about taking daily antiviral medication throughout your pregnancy. This may reduce the likelihood that your partner passes the virus onto you.
- During the third trimester, consider abstaining from all skin-to-skin genital contact. If your partner has ever had cold sores, consider avoiding oral sex.
Do They Test For Herpes When Youre Pregnant
In general, herpes testing is not recommended during pregnancy. However, there is an exception for people with symptoms.
If you have symptoms of herpes during pregnancy, your doctor will likely recommend testing. Thats particularly true if you have never had symptoms in the past.
Herpes Doctor Discussion Guide
Genital Herpes During Pregnancy
What is genital herpes during pregnancy?
Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease thats caused by two types of viruses: the herpes simplex viruses.
What are the signs of genital herpes?
Most people with genital herpes actually have no signs or symptoms. The stuff you might expect itchy sores , fever, fatigue and aches and pains only happens during active outbreaks, and some people who are infected never have an active outbreak .
Are there any tests for genital herpes?
Yep. If youve got active sores, your OB can have a sample of fluid from the sores analyzed. If you dont, a blood test can also help diagnose genital herpes.
How common is genital herpes during pregnancy?
More common than you might think. According to the March of Dimes, one in four pregnant women have genital herpes.
How did I get genital herpes?
Genital herpes is spread by sexual contact, and because most people dont have any symptoms of the disease, its possible to get herpes from someone who appeared and even thought they were herpes-free. Herpes can also be spread by oral-to-genital contact. Genital herpes is usually caused by the herpes simplex 2 virus, but herpes simplex 1 the virus that usually causes cold sores around the mouth and lips can also infect the genital area.
How will my genital herpes affect my baby?
Whats the best way to treat genital herpes during pregnancy?
What can I do to prevent genital herpes?
What do other pregnant moms do when they have genital herpes?
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General Properties And Mechanism Of Action
Valacyclovir is well absorbed after oral administration absorption of a single dose of 1000 mg is 54% higher than that achieved after single 200- or 800-mg doses of oral acyclovir. Valacyclovir is rapidly metabolized to acyclovir, the triphosphorylated form of which selectively inhibits human HSV DNA polymerase, reducing viral DNA replication. Similarly, famciclovir is the oral prodrug of its active form penciclovir it is more stable than acyclovir triphosphate, as evidenced by longer half-lives intracellularly, which might account for the prolonged in vitro antiviral activity. Acyclovir 5% and penciclovir 1% creams are used to treat orolabial herpes . Penciclovir was not detected in the plasma or urine of healthy volunteers after single or repeated application of the 1% cream. Systemic absorption of acyclovir following topical application is minimal or undetectable in adults.
The Difference Between Genital Herpes And Oral Herpes
Genital herpes can be caused by two different viruses, herpes simplex virus type 1 and herpes simplex virus type 2 . Oral herpes is usually caused by HSV-1. About 50% to 80% of adults have HSV-1. By age 50, about 90% of adults have been exposed to it. Oral herpes can be spread from the mouth to the genitals through oral sex, which is why some cases of genital herpes are caused by HSV-1.
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Is Acyclovir Safe For Baby
It is during the first trimester of pregnancy when the babyâs internal organs get formed. If any sort of medicine with potential side effects is consumed during this time, there are chances that it may lead to birth defects in babies. But as far as its consumption in the second or third trimester of pregnancy is concerned, there are no scientific evidences which state any probable birth defects in the baby.
Apart from this, many moms-to-be are worried if the consumption of acyclovir can cause behaviour or learning issues in a child. however, there is no scientific evidence that states the consumption of acyclovir leading to any behaviour or learning problems in a child.
Genital Herpes Treatment During Pregnancy
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 what’s 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, don’t kiss the baby, and wash hands with soap and water before touching the baby.
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Cold Sores When Pregnant: Are They Dangerous
Find out if your cold sore could cause complications for your baby.
Cold sores are a strain of herpes, meaning they are extremely contagious and can recur, says Susan Grant, M.D., an OB-GYN in New York City. They can appear at any time, especially when your body is under stress or going through hormone fluctuations, making pregnancy a prime time for outbreaks.
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You may feel a bump or notice a tingling on your lip, indicating that an outbreak is about to occur. But because it is a localized infection, there is nothing to worry about and no way for the herpes virus to pass through the protective placenta to your growing fetus, Grant says.
However, if you do have an outbreak after giving birth, do not kiss your baby, and don’t touch the sore without immediately washing your hands afterward with antibacterial soap, Grant warns. You’re most contagious during the weeping stage, when the blister opens and reveals a reddish area.
You can reduce the duration of an outbreak with an over-the-counter cold sore remedy such as docosanol and prescription anti-viral medications, such as acyclovir , both of which are considered pregnancy-safe.
How Does Genital Herpes Affect Pregnancy
The primary concern is transmitting the virus to your baby during delivery. Infants who contract genital herpes during childbirth can develop lesions on their skin, eyes, and mouth. The virus can affect their central nervous system or multiple organs, such as the liver and lungs. Infection in newborns can be fatal.
In a very small number of cases , a woman who acquires genital herpes during pregnancy can pass the virus along to the baby in utero. This is very rare and can lead to pregnancy complications or fetal demise.
You are at the greatest risk of transmitting the virus of if you experience an outbreak at the time of delivery or are infected for the first time in your third trimester.
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Can You Take Acyclovir For Herpes Infection During Pregnancy
Herpes simplex or herpes is a common viral infection. If the mother has this infection, then the baby is at risk of contracting neonatal herpes. While herpes may not be transmitted in the uterus, it could be spread to the newborn at the time of vaginal delivery.
If you are diagnosed with herpes-simplex or varicella-zoster virus during pregnancy, or have a history of recurring genital herpes, your doctor might prescribe antiviral drugs such as acyclovir.
In this post, MomJunction tells you if acyclovir is safe to use during pregnancy, the risks associated with it and also answers some frequently asked questions.
Cream For Genital Herpes
Wash your hands before and after using the cream.
Put a thin layer of cream on the affected area 5 times a day. Do this every 4 hours for example, at 7am, 11am, 3pm, 7pm and 11pm.
Use the cream for at least 5 days. If the genital herpes sore has not healed by then, you can carry on using the cream for another 5 days.
If the affected area has still not healed after a total of 10 days, stop using the cream and tell your doctor.
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General Precautions To Follow While Taking Acyclovir
Here are some precautions you may take to stay safe.
- Tell your doctor if you have nerve, liver, kidney or electrolyte abnormalities.
- Avoid taking the medication if you experience any symptoms of allergy.
- Drink a lot of water when you are on the medication.
- Do not exceed the suggested dosage of the medication.
Next, we answer a few queries commonly asked by our readers.
Prevalence Of Herpes During Pregnancy
Herpes infections are common during pregnancy. Research suggests that the prevalence of HSV-2 in reproductive-age females is almost 16%. Furthermore, that only represents a fraction of genital herpes infections, because many genital herpes infections are caused by HSV-1.
Most people with genital herpes do not know they are infected. The vast majority of herpes infections are asymptomaticmeaning they do not have recognizable symptoms.
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Can Acyclovir Cause Birth Defects During Pregnancy
Your babyâs internal organs get formed in the first trimester of pregnancy. If any kind of medicine with potential side effects is consumed during this time, it may cause congenital disabilities in babies. However, there is no scientific evidence available that states any probable birth defects in babies after mothers have been prescribed acyclovir in the second or third trimester of pregnancy.
Talking To Your Doctor
Talking about herpes can be difficult. Keeping your infection a secret from your doctor can put your baby at serious risk. If the infection affects your cervix , it’s possible to have an outbreak without even realizing it. If you or your partner has herpes, talk to your doctor about how to keep your baby safe. You can talk over the pros and cons of acyclovir and pregnancy and decide together what’s best for you and your baby.
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Acyclovir In Pregnancy: Is It Safe For Me And My Baby
When it comes to treating viral infections caused by HSV or varicella-zoster virus, acyclovir is one of the most popular medicines. But one thing that many people question is, if it can be consumed during pregnancy. Does it have any side effects? Or can it affect my baby in some way or the other? Any sort of medicine with side effects is not recommended during first trimester of pregnancy. When concerned in the second and third trimester of pregnancy, there is no scientific evidences which state any birth defects in the baby.
What Could Be The Side Effects Of Acyclovir During Pregnancy
The potential side effects of taking acyclovir include diarrhea, nausea, headache, fever, hair loss, and changes in vision. These symptoms resolve in a few days, and might not require a doctors attention.
However, you might have to see the doctor in the case of some serious side effects, such as
- Allergic reactions including itching, skin rash, swollen lips, tongue or faceConfusion, hallucinations, and tremors
- Increased sensitivity to sunlight
- Yellowing of skin or eyes
- Difficulty in sleeping
- Numbness or tingling sensation in the arms or legs
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Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 And Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2
While it was previously considered more common for Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 to cause cold sores on the lipsalso known as fever blistersand Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 to cause genital herpes , both strains can cause infections in either area of the body. Both forms of HSV stay in your body forever, and symptoms can recur. But with a strong immune system, they remain in a dormant state. HSV-1 typically recurs less frequently than HSV-2.
When the virus is dormant, you are not showing outward signs of infection. Although it is rare, some people will shed virus and be contagious even when asymptomatic.
What To Do With An Outbreak Of Herpes While Pregnant
Herpes while pregnant takes some management. If you have your first outbreak of herpes in pregnancy, it is possible to transmit herpes to your baby. This means that your baby may be born prematurely or even die. However, if you have had outbreaks before and you are simply having a recurrence, this is generally not a risk for your baby unless you have an active genital lesion at the time of delivery.
During an active herpes episode, whether the first episode or a repeat one, you should follow a few simple steps to speed healing and avoid spreading the infection to other places on the body or to other people.
- Don’t touch the sores.
- Keep them clean and dry.
- Do not have sexual contact with anyone until you are completely healed.
- Wash your hands frequently.
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Can You Breastfeed If You Have Herpes
Yes, most women can breastfeed their babies even when infected with herpes, as the virus cant be passed through breast milk. But be on the lookout for sores and lesions on your breasts, which can spread the virus and always wash your hands with soap and water before and after each feeding session. If do you spot a sore, dont feed your infant from that side.
And as for milk thats been pumped or expressed by hand from a breast that has an active lesion, its a no-go for your infant. This milk may be contaminated and must be discarded since it may have come in contact with the sore during the process. But if your other breast is sore-free, you can pump and feed that side to your infant, though be sure both your hands and the pump parts are super clean to avoid any transmission.
From the What to Expect editorial team and Heidi Murkoff, author of What to Expect When You’re Expecting. What to Expect follows strict reporting guidelines and uses only credible sources, such as peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions and highly respected health organizations. Learn how we keep our content accurate and up-to-date by reading our medical review and editorial policy.
What Are The Risks Of Genital Herpes In Pregnancy
If youre pregnant and you think that you have genital herpes, give your midwife or GP a shout straight away .
Genital herpes wont put you at higher risk of a miscarriage but it can be passed onto babies during pregnancy. It can cause a serious illness called neonatal herpes.
Neonatal herpes is rare in the UK but risks are highest if you get a new infection in your third trimester or within six weeks of having your baby .
If youre pregnant and have genital herpes, youll be referred to a genitourinary medicine physician for treatment .
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Women Who Get Herpes During Pregnancy
Many women who have their first outbreak of genital herpes during pregnancy do not actually have a new infection instead, the outbreak is the first symptomatic recurrence of a longstanding infection. If you experience your first outbreak late in pregnancy, get a Western blot serology, if at all possible. If performed promptly, a Western blot can tell you whether the outbreak is a true primary , a non-primary first episode , or a recurrence. Ask your doctor to let the lab know how many weeks pregnant you are.
A woman who has a primary episode in the last trimester, especially in the last four to six weeks, may be treated to reduce the viral load. Some experts might also recommend a cesarean delivery under these circumstances. “If a woman becomes infected during the third trimester, even if she’s treated, there’s a higher risk for shedding at delivery, says Stanberry. “In this situation, a C-section may really be of help, even if she has no symptoms or visible lesions.” However, ACOG recommends a vaginal delivery if no lesions are present.
Unfortunately, most women who acquire herpes during the last trimester are unaware of their infection. Thus, neither they nor their babies receive the attention, treatment, and care they would receive if the infection were known.
Precautions To Take While Taking Acyclovir During Pregnancy
Exercising some of the following precautions may be helpful in reducing the side effects of the medicine:
- Refrain from taking more than the recommended dosage. If it occurs due to negligence, seek medical help at once.
- You should drink lots of water while taking this medicine as it may help in reducing your chances of experiencing any side effects.
- If any allergies are experienced after taking the medicine, you must stop taking it at once.
- If you have any kind of kidney, liver, or nerve abnormality, it must be brought to your doctorâs notice.
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