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How To Get Pregnant With Herpes

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

Herpes and Pregnancy

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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Is Genital Herpes Related To Shingles

Shingles, also called herpes zoster, is caused by the varicella zoster virus , which causes chickenpox earlier in life. The natural history of varicella zoster infection is similar to genital herpes infection in that VZV also becomes latent in the sensory nerve roots. Later in life the virus may exit, causing shingles.

Recurrences in shingles cause blister lesions in a single area of skin called a dermatome. Shingles is not a sexually transmitted infection and is independent from genital herpes.

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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


Hi there,

I have had what I believe to be genital herpes for about 10 years now, I only seem to get an outbreak when I am run down/stressed. I am now 20 weeks pregnant and, again due to being stressed, have an outbreak. I am worried about the health of my baby though can he get infected by these recurrent outbreaks or will he be immune to it whilst in the womb? I am seeing my consultant soon to discuss birth options.

Does anyone have any advise/experience of this?


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I Had Lesions When I Was Evaluated But My Culture Was Negative Does This Mean That I Dont Have Herpes

Not necessarily. Although lesions can be caused by something other than herpes, false negative herpes tests can occur if the samples are not taken appropriately, if there is a long transport time between the clinic and the laboratory, or if cultures were taken late in the course of the lesions. Lesions that occur early in the course of a herpes outbreak are much more likely to have positive cultures than cultures taken after the lesions crust over.

What If I Get Herpes During Pregnancy

Dealing With Herpes During Pregnancy

If you have your first episode of genital herpes during pregnancy, you should tell your doctor. Your doctor may want to treat you with antiviral medicine. The risk of your baby getting herpes is much higher if you have your first episode of genital herpes near the time of delivery.

It is important to avoid getting herpes during pregnancy. If your partner has a history of herpes and you do not have it, be sure to use condoms during sexual intercourse at all times during pregnancy. Your partner could pass the infection to you even if there are no painful sores. If there are painful sores, you must not have sex until the sores heal.

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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.

Infection Before Or At The Beginning Of Pregnancy

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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Is There Any Resistance To Genital Herpes Medication

Resistance to drugs that treat genital herpes even after 20 years of use is very rare. Herpes medications may not work as well in patients who are very immunosuppressed and have been treated with these drugs for a long time. Each individuals response to treatment may vary. In some cases, patients may need more drugs to suppress their viral outbreaks than others.

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What If My Partner Has Herpes

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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.

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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.

Fetal Scalp Monitor: Trouble Or No

One practice that may contribute to transmission of neonatal herpes is the use of a fetal scalp monitor during childbirth. This instrument, which is used to monitor the babys heartbeat, actually makes tiny punctures in the babys scalp. Several studies have shown that those breaks in the skin may serve as portals of entry for herpes virus.

While the risk from the scalp monitor may be quite small, a cautious approach would be for a pregnant woman to ask that it not be used unless there is a compelling medical reason.

If a woman has a history of recurrent herpes, her obstetrician should carefully weigh the risks and benefits, says Stanberry. In most cases the fetal scalp monitor shouldnt be used. There are other ways to monitor the heart rate. An alternative is the external monitor, which tracks the babys heartbeat through the mothers abdomen.

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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.

How Can I Reduce My Risk Of Getting Genital Herpes

Genital herpes: Diagnostic and management considerations in pregnant ...

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

  • Be in a long-term mutually monogamous relationship with a partner who is not infected with an STD
  • Using latex condoms the right way every time you have sex.

Be aware that not all herpes sores occur in areas that are covered by a latex condom. Also, herpes virus can be released from areas of the skin that do not have a visible herpes sore. For these reasons, condoms may not fully protect you from getting herpes.

If you are in a relationship with a person known to have genital herpes, you can lower your risk of getting genital herpes if:

  • Your partner takes an anti-herpes medication every day. This is something your partner should discuss with his or her doctor.

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Protecting The Baby: Women Who Dont Have Genital Herpes

The greatest risk of neonatal herpes is to babies whose mothers contract a genital herpes infection late in pregnancy. While this is a rare occurrence, it does happen, and can cause a serious, even life-threatening, illness for the baby. The best way you can protect your baby is to know the facts about HSV and how to protect yourself. The first step may be finding out whether you already carry the herpes virus. If you have a partner who knows they have genital herpes and you dont know whether you have it, you need to discuss this with your doctor.

How To Control Herpes During Pregnancy

The idea that pregnancy triggers flare-ups is unsupported by any research. Nevertheless, 75% of herpes-positive pregnant women may anticipate an outbreak. This has been proven by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

If you experience itching, burning, or tingling, this could be a sign that the virus is starting to become active. Especially if its where the sore may eventually form during pregnancy.

Your doctor may recommend an antiviral drug like acyclovir if youve got a record of herpes, or if a blood test result is positive. This helps to lower your risk of contracting the virus or experiencing an outbreak close to the time of birth.

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Herpes More Common In Women

Slightly more women have herpes than men. Where its one in four women, its one in five who are positive. Thats just because of the nature of female genitalia: plenty of soft tissue is exposed for skin contact, which is presumably more receptive to any virus or STD.

Positive Singles is a safe, supportive community to meet others with HSV! Dating profiles, blogs, support groups, and active discussion. Avoid the awkward herpes talk sign up free now.

How Is Genital Herpes Treated During Pregnancy

Protecting Against Herpes

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.

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Prodromal Symptoms Of Herpes

Prior to a herpes outbreak, people will often have prodromal symptoms . With herpes, this may include localized genital pain, or tingling or shooting pains in the legs, hips, or buttocks. This may occur hours or days before the actual outbreak.

The outbreak may also be preceded by flu-like symptoms like fever, fatigue, and swollen lymph nodes, particularly during the first outbreak.

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What Do I Do If I Have Genital Herpes

Some people have a lot of fears and misconceptions about herpes, but its a common STD. It can be painful and uncomfortable during outbreaks, but its not deadly and it doesnt cause serious health problems. So if you have genital herpes, try not to panic or feel too bad about it. Millions of people are living with herpes, so youre not alone. And even though theres no cure for herpes, there are plenty of ways to treat the symptoms and manage the infection. Your doctor will tell you about the best treatment options for your situation.

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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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Herpes Simplex And Getting Pregnant


As the second most common sexually transmitted disease, herpes simplex can be quite an obstacle for women preparing to have children. It is estimated that 25-30% of mothers-to-be have genital herpes, which might delay conception and cause complications, such as viral transmission to the baby.

However, despite significant risks, pregnancy complications can be avoided by following proper management recommendations. Keep on reading to find out what effective steps you can take to ensure your babys health and to safely transition into motherhood.

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What Are The Herpes Outbreak Stages

  • Lauren Stuttaford

Herpes, otherwise known as the herpes simplex virus, is categorized into two types: herpes simplex virus type 1 and herpes simplex virus type 2 .

The first is mainly transmitted through oral-to-oral contact causing oral herpes but can also cause genital herpes. While HSV-2 is a sexually transmitted infection that causes genital herpes. Both types of the infection are lifelong.

A person infected with herpes, whether oral or genital, might show no symptoms or could progress through the different herpes outbreak stages from blister development to herps healing. However, most herpes infections are asymptomatic.

According to the World Health Organization , an estimated 3.7 billion people under 50 years old have HSV-1 infection globally, and an estimated 491 million people between the ages of 15-49 have HSV-2 infection worldwide.

Astonishingly, the virus causing genital herpes or HSV-2 increases the risk of contracting and transmitting HIV, putting millions at greater risk of contracting an HIV infection.

Lets take a closer look at the herpes outbreak stages.

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