If you are a pregnant mother with herpes, you may be worried about passing the disease on to your child. Whether or not you can spread the disease usually depends on your condition at the time of labor.
If you are not experiencing an outbreak at the time of delivery, the herpes virus is typically not present and cannot infect the baby as it travels down the birth canal.
If you are experiencing an outbreak at the time of delivery, the chances of spreading the disease to your baby is much higher. Because of this, most doctors would prefer you deliver via ceasarian.
Mothers are always worried about what they may pass on to their babies, whether while pregnant or after the child is born. Hereditary diseases, such as diabetes, are often high on a mother’s list of concerns. Another disease high on the list of concerns of mothers is herpes.
Can I Give My Baby Herpes? Answer: Potentially.
Herpes is a viral disease and categorized as oral or genital. Oral herpes occurs when the visible symptoms, such as fever blisters or cold sores, cause an infection to the face and mouth. This is the most common form of herpes.
After delivery, it is still possible for your baby to catch herpes. A very small amount of newborn herpes are contracted after birth. Whether a baby gets herpes during or after delivery, it can be very dangerous for your newborn child. In order to try and prevent herpes from spreading, make sure anyone who comes into contact with your baby washes their hands and refrains from kissing him or her. Even if it is only a cold sore, it can pose severe health risks to your child.
Types and Symptoms
Genital herpes is another common form. Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted viral infection affecting the genitals. To catch genital herpes, a person must come into contact (usually during sex) with an infected individual. Herpes can be spread to the skin, genitals or mouth.
The most common symptom of genital herpes are small blisters found on the genitals of an infected individual. These blisters may be painful and usually contain a clear fluid. They are typically found around the genitals of the infected person, and may even appear around the thighs, butt, mouth, tongue or eyes. Some infected individuals have reported feeling a burning and/or itching sensation around there genitals before the blisters have surfaced.
Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for the herpes virus. When an individual becomes infected, the virus lives in the body forever. While initial symptoms may disappear, it is possible for the outbreak to occur again. After many years, infected individuals may not experience outbreaks, however, they will still be able to spread the disease to others.
While it is most common to spread herpes when the infected person shows visible sores, including blisters and a rash, herpes can also be spread when the infected person is not showing visible sores. It can also be spread through saliva or vaginal secretions. While genital herpes affects both men and women, it is found more often in women.
Outbreaks and Contagiousness
When you have herpes, the virus remains in your body, even when you are not experiencing an outbreak. At any time, this virus can “reactivate”, causing the blisters. If you are experiencing a recurrence of your herpes virus, it is possible to transmit the disease. Also, although very rare, it has been reported that the herpes virus can spread from a pregnant woman to her baby through the placenta. This can only occur if the pregnant women becomes infected during her first trimester, and it can result in very severe defects to the baby.
Spreading genital herpes to your baby can be avoided by performing a caesarean section. This way, contact between the virus and your baby is reduced. This is the safest method for delivery, especially if you are experiencing a visible outbreak or are showing any symptoms of an outbreak.
If you want to have a regular vaginal delivery, some doctors may suggest taking a specific antiviral medication. Taking this medication will usually commence around the 36th week of pregnancy and continue until the baby is delivered.
Whenever you are experiencing an outbreak, make sure that area of your body is always covered and is kept away from your baby. Make sure you continue to wash your hands on a regular basis, as the virus can remain on the skin and transmit from your hand to your baby very easily.
If you have any questions about passing herpes on to your child, whether during labor or after your child is born, it is best to consult your physician.