Herpes and Pregnancy

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Genital Herpes and Pregnancy

It's common for women with genital herpes to be concerned about what their infection might mean for their newborn. If you are pregnant and have genital herpes, you probably don't need to worry. A woman with recurrent herpes rarely passes the infection to her newborn.

Herpes poses the greatest danger to a newborn if a woman gets infected during her pregnancy. The most important thing you can do is to avoid becoming infected with genital herpes during pregnancy.

You may consider herpes testing if you have never had genital herpes symptoms and if your partner has a history of genital herpes. You should also consider testing if you have any concerns about being exposed. Testing is helpful because it is possible you have the virus but have never had or noticed symptoms.

If you do not have genital herpes but your partner does, avoid unprotected oral, vaginal, and anal sex. Your partner may also consider taking anti-herpes drugs throughout your pregnancy. Anti-herpes drugs reduce the risk of passing the infection to you.

Though rare, contact with herpes sores during delivery can lead to a severe, life-threatening infection for the baby. Let your health care provider know if you have herpes. If you have herpes sores when you begin labor, your health care provider may recommend a cesarean section to avoid infecting your newborn. Very rarely is a fetus infected earlier in pregnancy.

Work with your health care provider to plan the best care for yourself and your baby. Discuss any concerns you may have about herpes and pregnancy with your provider. Learning more about herpes may also help you make the best decisions about your health and the health of your baby.

Oral Herpes and Pregnancy

If you have an outbreak of oral herpes while you are pregnant, don't worry. It shouldn't harm your pregnancy. However, after birth, if you have a cold sore, don't kiss your baby until it has healed completely to prevent giving the baby the infection.

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