If a woman with genital herpes has virus present in the birth canal during delivery, herpes simplex virus (HSV) can be spread to an infant, causing neonatal herpes, a serious and sometimes fatal condition. This is because a newly infected mother does not have antibodies against the virus, so there is no natural protection for the baby during birth. Again, simple precautions can be taken to protect an infant from this type of exposure. If you do not have an active outbreak, you can have a vaginal delivery. Unfortunately, when infants do contract neonatal herpes, the results can be tragic. There is a high risk of transmission if the mother has an active outbreak, because the likelihood of viral shedding during an outbreak is high. Fortunately, babies of mothers with long-standing herpes infections have a natural protection against the virus. These antibodies help protect the baby from acquiring infection during birth, even if there is some virus in the birth canal. You can get genital herpes if you have sexual contact with a partner who is infected with herpes, or if a partner who has an active cold sore performs oral sex on you. Herpes simplex is most often spread to an infant during birth if the mother has HSV in the birth canal during delivery. Protecting the Baby: Women with Genital Herpes while pregnant. If you are pregnant and you have genital herpes, you may be concerned about the risk of spreading the herpes infection to your baby.
But you can pass herpes to your baby any time you have an active infection. If you had your first genital herpes outbreak during pregnancy, or if you have outbreaks often, your provider may treat you with an antiviral medicine called acyclovir (also called Zovirax Injection or acycloguanosine) during the last month of pregnancy. A dental dam is a square piece of rubber that can help protect you from STDs during oral sex. What are the risks to my unborn baby if I have genital herpes? In rare cases, a pregnant woman may transmit the infection to her baby through the placenta if she gets herpes for the first time in her first trimester. My Pregnancy & Baby Today Mom Feed. Pregnant women with untreated genital herpes during the first or second trimester appear to have a greater than two-fold risk of preterm delivery compared with women not exposed to herpes, particularly in relation to premature rupture of membrane and early preterm delivery ( 35 wk of gestation).
Yet, the actual incidence of herpes infection in the newborn is exceedingly low. Partners in which one of the partners has genital (or oral) herpes, who are planning to have children, and in which the future mother does not have genital herpes must be especially careful not to place the future mother in a situation in which she might develop a first infection with genital herpes while pregnant. Even condoms might not give satisfactory protection, as discussed elsewhere on this web site. One would expect that active disease would be present at the time of delivery, and this is very rare. Once you have been infected with a herpes virus, whether it’s genital herpes or cold sores, it stays in your body for life (RCOG 2014a). You can help to protect your baby by getting the right care, at the right time. Your newborn can catch herpes if you have an active outbreak in or around your vagina around the time of birth. Should mothers with genital herpes breast feed? Some people infected with the virus may only experience genital herpes once, whereas others may develop the genital lesions on a number of occasions. If you or your partner have ever been diagnosed with the herpes simplex virus, you must tell your healthcare provider at your first appointment. If you caught the infection pre-pregnancy, it is likely that your immune system will protect your baby during pregnancy.
Genital Herpes And Pregnancy
Some STDs can affect a fetus during pregnancy or a baby during childbirth. If the mother has active genital lesions during childbirth, the highly contagious virus can infect the baby. If left untreated, pregnant women with gonorrhea have an increased risk of miscarriage and premature birth. B-positive mothers with antibodies to protect them from infection. 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. and that may actually be a good thing If you contracted herpes before you got pregnant, your body has had time to develop antibodies to the virus, protection that you will pass on to your baby. Such an infection can cause problems not only with the baby’s eyes and skin, but with his brain and central nervous system as well. If you do have an active infec- tion at delivery, your baby should be delivered by Cesarean section. Management of genital herpes simplex virus in pregnancy. If the woman has a history of recurrent genital herpes, she should be reassured that the risk of transmitting the infection to her baby is very small, even if she does have active lesions at delivery. Maternal antibodies will give some protection to the baby but neonatal infection can still occasionally occur. Remember there may not be obvious symptoms in the mother and HSV can be transmitted through asymptomatic viral shedding, and indeed this is most often the case. Fast treatment is the best way to protect you and your baby. Herpes: Herpes infection in a pregnant woman is relatively safe until she gets ready to deliver. A baby that is born while the mother has an active infection can develop blindness, joint infection, or a life threatening blood infection. If they grow large enough to block the birth canal, the baby may need to be delivered by a cesarean section. Newborn infants can become infected with herpes virus during pregnancy, during labor or delivery, or after birth. If the mother has an active outbreak genital herpes at the time of delivery, the baby is more likely to become infected during birth. Some mothers may not know they have herpes sores inside the vagina. Rubella infection during the first 10 weeks of pregnancy may cause fetal death and more than 50 of newborns have severe birth defects. However infection during the third trimester when the virus is likely to be active and the mother has not yet made sufficient antibodies to protect her fetus may lead to congenital HSV infection. Both HSV-1 and HSV-2 can be transmitted during birth if the mother has active genital sores, causing facial or genital herpes in the newborn.
Genital Herpes And Pregnancy
Most new cases of genital herpes infection do not cause symptoms, and many people infected with HSV-2 are unaware that they have genital herpes. The risk is greatest for mothers with a first-time infection, because the virus can be transmitted to the infant during childbirth. If adolescents do not have antibodies to HSV-1 by the time they become sexually active, they may be more susceptible to genitally acquiring HSV-1 through oral sex. Infants may get congenital herpes from a mother with an active herpes infection at the time of birth. People with active symptoms of genital herpes are at very high risk for transmitting the infection. Even if infected people have mild or no symptoms, they can still transmit the herpes virus. Natural condoms made from animal skin do NOT protect against HSV infection because herpes viruses can pass through them. The baby is at greatest risk during a vaginal delivery, especially if the mother has an asymptomatic infection that was first introduced late in the pregnancy. A caesarean birth during a herpes outbreak can prevent infection to the baby. If a mother is having an active herpes outbreak at the time of her baby’s birth, the risks of the baby contracting herpes are greater. The reason a baby is more at risk in a mother who contracts herpes during late pregnancy is because our bodies are made to protect babies in the womb. One theory is that if a mother contracts herpes in late pregnancy the antibodies have a shorter time frame in which to protect a baby. Diabetes in pregnancy can have serious consequences for the mother and the growing fetus. Genital herpes can cause potentially fatal infections in babies if the mother has active genital herpes (shedding the virus) at the time of delivery.
During an attack of genital herpes, small, painful sores may erupt on your skin. Once you have been infected with a herpes virus it stays in your body for life, only breaking out into sores now and then. The vast majority of mums-to-be with genital herpes have healthy babies, though. That’s the case even if you have an attack in late pregnancy that is still active when you give birth (RCOG 2007).