Friday, July 12, 2024

How To Have Kids With Herpes

Parenting Children And Genital Herpes

How Contagious is Herpes?

Parents commonly tell us about worries they have about transmission and passing on genital herpes to their children in the course of daily life . Perhaps because there is so little information that addresses parents concerns about herpes transmission, parents end up devising all sorts of safety strategies that are completely unnecessary.

The key message is loving parents do not pass on genital herpes to their children through the normal intimacies of family life. Its important that fear of transmission doesnt get in the way of loving touch and shared experiences.

We hope this information will reassure parents and help you to enjoy your children.

Know More Facts About Herpes Outbreak:

First herpes outbreak | Recurrent herpes outbreaks | Stages of a herpes outbreak | How long does a herpes outbreak last | How often do herpes outbreaks occur? | What can trigger herpes outbreaks? | How to recognize a herpes outbreak? | How to prevent herpes outbreaks | Viral shedding | Herpes treatment | How to strengthen your immune system

How Can I Make Sure I Dont Give Anyone Herpes

  • Dont have sex with anyone during a herpes outbreak, because thats when the virus spreads most easily. But herpes can also spread when there are no sores or symptoms, so its important to use condoms and dental dams, even if everything looks and feels healthy. When the skin heals completely and your scabs fall off, youre good to start having sex again.
  • Learn how to tell when an outbreak is coming, and stop having sex right when you notice these signs. You may feel a burning, itching, or tingling feeling that lets you know youre about to get sores.
  • If you have a cold sore on your mouth, don’t kiss anyone especially babies, children, or pregnant women.
  • Always tell your sexual partners that you have herpes before you have sex, so you can work together to prevent it from spreading and build a foundation of trust. Telling someone you have an STD can be hard, but herpes is super common and doesnt lead to serious health problems.

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How Do People Get Genital Herpes

People can get infected with genital herpes when:

  • They receive oral sex from a partner who has oral herpes .
  • They touch a herpes sore and then touch their own genitals.
  • Their genitals touch the skin in the genital area of someone who is infected .

Genital herpes can spread even if there are no sores because the virus is still in the body. The virus sometimes sheds in the skin near the genitals. When the virus is shedding, it can infect another person.

Infection In The Last Trimester Of Pregnancy

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If women become infected with genital herpes in the last three months of pregnancy, the virus is passed on to their baby in about 30 to 50 out of 100 births. Because of this risk, women who get genital herpes in the last trimester of pregnancy usually have a Cesarean section in order to protect the child. Its also a good idea to talk with a doctor who is specialized in the treatment of infectious diseases.

In order to prevent infection in the last three months of pregnancy, its best to avoid sex with people who have genital herpes. This is also true when it comes to oral sex with people who have cold sores.

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Genital Herpes Is Caused By The Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1 Or Type 2

The CDC reports that about 776,000 Americans contract genital herpes each year. The virus is more easily passed from men to women than women to men. The infection is transmitted through lesions on surfaces lined with mucus or genital or oral secretions. Transmission often occurs when an infected person who is asymptomatic unknowingly passes the virus. In fact, almost 90% of people who are infected have either no symptoms or such mild symptoms that they do not know they are carriers.

How Can I Best Learn To Cope With Herpes Simplex

Some people feel distressed or embarrassed about their herpes simplex infection. Its important to understand that the herpes virus is common. For most people, herpes doesnt significantly interfere with daily life.

To cope with negative feelings, you may consider:

  • Connecting with others through support groups or online forums.
  • Sharing your feelings with a trusted friend or loved one.
  • Speaking with a therapist.

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Other Options To Have A Baby

If you prefer not take a risk of sharing the virus through unprotected sex, you and your partner might want to consider alternate ways to have a family. These options include:

  • Artificial insemination with your partners or donor sperm
  • In vitro fertilization, which can be complex and expensive
  • Surrogacy: If you have the virus and your partner doesnt, and you want to avoid the concerns of transmitting herpes to your baby during pregnancy, you might want to consider using a surrogate to carry the baby. The cost of surrogacy can also be expensive.

Can You Have A Healthy Pregnancy With Herpes

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A person with herpes has a good chance of having a healthy pregnancy. Because herpes lies dormant for months or years at a time, some pregnant individuals may not experience an outbreak during their pregnancy.

Most people with herpes have mild symptoms, although first-time infections can be more severe.

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Strains And Unexplained Female Infertility

One recent study found that there was a link between a certain strain of herpes and unexplained infertility in women. This study showed that 43% of 30 women with unexplained infertility had a uterine lining that was infected with this specific herpes strain . However, the 36 women in the study who had no problems conceiving were not found to have the herpes strain in their uterine lining.

How Can I Prevent My Baby From Getting Neonatal Herpes

Parents or visitors can pass herpes onto a baby unwittingly in the first few weeks of their life. There are a few steps you can take to reduce the risk.

  • If you are breastfeeding and develop a lesion on your breast or nipples, you should stop feeding from that breast straight away. See your GP as soon as possible, and they can test the lesion for neonatal herpes simplex virus .
  • If you have a cold sore, ensure it is covered and wash your hands thoroughly and regularly. Treat the cold sore with a topical aciclovir cream until it is healed, and dont kiss your baby while you still have the cold sore.
  • Request that visitors wash their hands before holding your baby. Ask them politely not to kiss your newborn baby, especially if they have a cold sore.
  • For more information see the Kit Tarka Foundation website.

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Protecting Your Loved Ones

  • Herpes can be spread to a child if a person kisses them while having an active cold sore. If you have an active outbreak, or a family, friend or relative does, take care to avoid the cold sore coming into contact with the child.
  • Babies can also contract herpes from being kissed by someone with a cold sore . A young child cannot fight off infections as easily as an adult can, so serious health problems can occur. If you suffer from cold sores take every precaution not to put an infant child at risk.
  • An infant with herpes can become very ill, causing eye or throat infections, damage to the central nervous system, mental retardation or death. By the time a baby is around six months old, his/ her immune system is better able to cope with exposure to the virus.
  • If you have an outbreak of genital herpes, be sure to wash your hands before touching the baby
  • Be sure to take all the necessary precautions not to spread the virus to a young child

How Can I Get Pregnant With Genital Herpes


Dr. Vilma received her M.D. in Obstetrics, Gynecology, Infertility and Reproductive Endocrinology from Harvard. She is trained in managing pregnancy, pre-pregnancy health, and family planning.

Learn about our Editorial Policy.

It’s completely normal to have concerns about getting pregnant when you or your partner has genital herpes. But herpes doesn’t have to stop you from having a healthy pregnancy and baby. In fact, by keeping a few considerations in mind, you can make things much comfortable and reduce the risk of spreading the infection.

Because herpes spreads through skin-to-skin contact, conceiving a baby presents a risk for transmission. There are several ways to make getting pregnant with genital herpes safer, and there are also alternative methods for having a baby that make spreading the virus much less likely. No matter what situation you are facing, knowing how the virus behaves and how it sheds and spreads can help you plan how to time unprotected sex to get pregnant.

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How Do You Get Genital Herpes

Genital herpes can be passed on by:

  • when a cold sore touches genitals
  • transferring infection on fingers to genitals
  • sharing sex toys with someone who has herpes.

Dont panic about other types of contact though: herpes isnt transmitted by sharing towels, cutlery or cups. The virus dies quickly when its away from the skin .

How Do I Talk With People About Having Herpes

It might feel scary to admit you have herpes, but talking about things can really ease your mind. You could lean on a close, non-judgmental friend that you trust to keep the conversation private. Parents, brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles, and other family members can also be a source of comfort. Remember, herpes is really common, so its possible the person youre talking to has herpes, too.

There are a lot of online support groups for people who have herpes, and the American Sexual Health Association has a list of support groups that meet in person.

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Myth: Cold Sores And Genital Sores Are Way Different

Many people wrongfully believe that cold sores dont count as real herpes, Raquel Dardik, MD, clinical associate professor at NYU Langones Joan H. Tisch Center for Womens Health, explains to Health. This misconception stems from the general patterns of the two types.

For most people, HSV-1 tends to affect their mouth, while HSV-2 usually manifests on the genitals. But either virus can affect either body region all it takes to spread is skin-to-skin-contact.

Lets say you touch an infected persons genitals with your mouth while theyre shedding the virus, but theres no genital-to-genital touching. You can then be infected with either HSV-1 or HSV-2 and go on to develop lesions at the site of the infection .

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Getting Pregnant With Genital Herpes

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If you have a history of genital herpes and you want to conceive naturally, the challenge is to time unprotected intercourse at your most fertile time, yet not infect your partner. The same applies if your partner is the one infected, and you are not.

As with everything in life, there is no guarantee the non-infected partner will not acquire the virus, but taking the best approach together will certainly limit the risk while you are trying to get pregnant.

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Treatments Your Physician May Prescribe

Your childs doctor may prescribe an antiviral medication to speed recovery of the sores. Acyclovir is the only antiviral medication that is available as a liquid and that is approved for use in infants.Anesthetic mouthwashes or pain medication may also be given to reduce pain. If your child is unable to eat or drink because of mouth sores, he or she is at risk of becoming dehydrated. If this occurs, your doctor may recommend that your child receive IV fluids.

Signs Of Congenital Herpes Simplex

Congenital herpes simplex is transmitted from mother to baby in utero or during vaginal delivery. Symptoms usually appear in the first month after the baby is born. Newborns may show signs of irritability, jaundice , trouble breathing, grunting, breathing irregularities, blue appearance, seizures, bleeding and shock. Once infected, some babies may develop localized skin infections in the form of blisters on the face or eyes, while others may develop more serious issues such as encephalitis, an inflammation of the brain that can lead to seizures and damage to the brain and spinal cord. A disseminated herpes infection is one that spreads throughout the body and infects the babyâs vital organs. If left untreated, both encephalitis and disseminated herpes infections can be fatal, so it is critical to seek treatment right away if your baby is showing any of these signs.

  • Congenital herpes simplex is transmitted from mother to baby in utero or during vaginal delivery.
  • If left untreated, both encephalitis and disseminated herpes infections can be fatal, so it is critical to seek treatment right away if your baby is showing any of these signs.

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Can You Give Birth Naturally If You Have Herpes

Most people with herpes can have a vaginal birth. A doctor can test the skin for signs of herpes shortly before the birth. If a person shows signs of infection, doctors may recommend a C-section to lower the risk of transmitting the infection to the baby.

C-sections lower this risk by delivering the baby through incisions in the abdomen and uterus. This prevents them from contracting the virus in the birth canal.

The Ovulation Predictor Kit

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To help you predict when you might ovulate so you limit unprotected sex to your most fertile days, an easy tool is the ovulation predictor kit . According to a study published in 2000 in Human Reproduction, an OPK is a reliable predictor of when ovulation is likely to occur. The at-home urine test measures the pituitary luteinizing hormone , which increases as you approach ovulation.

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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.

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.

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Can You Pass Herpes To Your Child

Yes, since cold sores are extremely contagious, HSV can be passed to babies and toddlers. Transmission commonly occurs via saliva, skin-to-skin contact or when touching something thats been handled by a person whos infected with the virus.

Its also possible for HSV from cold sores to spread to a childs eye and infect the cornea. These outbreaks usually heal on their own, but more severe cases can lead to corneal scarring or blindness. And HSV is of great concern to babies under 6 months as their immune systems are still immature. Nix kissing and close cuddles from parents or relatives with cold sores.

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