Effect of the Herpes Simplex Virus on Mother and Infant

Pregnancy is a major life event for many women, but it can also bring about a number of physical and hormonal changes that can significantly affect a woman’s health. One such effect is an increase in the incidence of herpes outbreaks during pregnancy. Herpes is a very common virus that affects a majority of the population, with many people unaware that they even carry it. However, when it is active, it can cause serious complications for both mother and baby. In this blog post, we will be exploring the link between pregnancy and increased herpes outbreaks and discuss how women can manage and prevent them during pregnancy.
In order to understand the relationship between pregnancy and herpes outbreaks, it’s important to have an understanding of what herpes is and how it is typically treated. Herpes is a viral infection that is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). It is categorized into two main types: HSV-1, which is the most common virus and is typically

The difference between genital herpes and oral herpes

Herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) are two different viruses that can cause genital herpes. 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 HSV-1 is responsible for some cases of genital herpes because oral herpes can spread from the mouth to the genitals during oral sex.

Newborns may develop neonatal herpes from either type of herpes virus. It is most frequently passed from mothers to babies during childbirth. However, newborns can also contract neonatal herpes by kissing someone who has a cold sore. Rarely, if someone touches a cold sore or genital sore and then touches a baby, they could contract herpes through touch.

Neonatal herpes is a serious infection. It can cause:

  • Blindness
  • Inflammation of the membrane around your babys brain
  • Seizures
  • Deafness
  • Sores on the skin, eyes, genitals, or mouth
  • Damage to your babys organs, including the liver, lungs, and heart
  • Thankfully, neonatal herpes is also extremely uncommon, occurring in less than 0 people. 1% of newborns born in the US each year. Most women with herpes give birth to healthy babies. The risk increases if you get herpes late in pregnancy because you won’t have time to develop antibodies that you can pass on to your unborn child. During delivery, there is also a higher likelihood that a fresh infection will be present and active.

    How can you prevent your baby from getting herpes?

    While there is no way to guarantee that an infection won’t be contracted by a fetus or baby, one can reduce the risk by:

  • taking antiviral medications a doctor prescribes toward the end of pregnancy
  • having a C-section birth if doctors think there is a high risk of a baby contracting an infection during natural childbirth
  • stopping breastfeeding if they notice a sore on or around the nipple, until they can have an HSV test
  • covering active cold sores and washing their hands regularly
  • avoiding kissing a baby until a cold sore has completely healed
  • What causes herpes to flare up?

    Does Pregnancy Increase Herpes Outbreaks

    Approximately 22% of pregnant women have genital herpes. Herpes is generally a manageable condition in adults, but it can be fatal for newborns. Fortunately, there is very little chance that you will pass it on to your unborn child, especially if you got it before becoming pregnant. Your doctor will take action if you have it to stop you from transmitting it to your unborn child while giving birth.

    Usually your first herpes outbreak is the worst. Because your body produces antibodies to the virus, outbreaks typically get milder over time. Theres no evidence that pregnancy causes herpes outbreaks, but approximately 75% of pregnant women with herpes will have an outbreak at some point during their pregnancy

    Herpes can lie dormant for many years. Sometimes what seems to be a new herpes case is actually a dormant case that is just now exhibiting symptoms. Ask your doctor about getting tested if you’re not sure if you have herpes.

    Herpes spreads to a group of nerves at the base of your spine after your initial infection has subsided. It will be latent during this time, and you won’t experience any symptoms. When the virus moves from your nerves to the surface of your skin, it can cause recurrent outbreaks. Recurrent outbreaks may be triggered by:

  • Sunlight
  • Stress
  • Fatigue
  • Menstrual periods
  • Illness
  • FAQ

    How can I control my herpes outbreak while pregnant?

    Acyclovir (Zovirax) and valacyclovir (Valtrex) are the drugs most commonly used for herpes outbreak suppression and treatment during pregnancy. These drugs help reduce how active the virus is. They also help speed up lesion healing. They may also decrease the chance of active lesions at the time of labor.

    What happens if you get herpes while pregnant?

    For most people, having herpes during pregnancy does not affect their pregnancy, childbirth, or fetal health. In those who develop herpes infection in the final trimester, the virus passes on to their fetuses in 30–50 out of 100 births . For this reason, doctors recommend C-sections to lower the risk of infection.

    Can you have a healthy pregnancy with herpes?

    The herpes simplex virus (HSV) causes genital herpes. If you have genital herpes, it’s possible to transmit the HSV to your baby, so you’ll need to make a plan with your doctor to keep that from happening. But rest assured, most people with genital herpes give birth to healthy babies and don’t pass on the virus.

    Herpes and Pregnancy

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