Herpes and Pregnancy: What You Should Know
How can my baby contract HSV?
There are three main ways that herpes can spread to your infant, according to the IHA:
- During birth if the virus is present in the birth canal during delivery
- If the baby is kissed by someone who suffers from cold sores
- In rare instances, HSV may be spread by touch (if someone touches an active cold sore and immediately touches the baby)
Despite HSV being so common, the risk of your baby being affected by neonatal herpes is low if you’ve contracted the STD before your third trimester. The IHA statistics show that the majority of women suffering from genital herpes give birth to healthy babies.
What are my treatment options?
According to OB-GYN Dr. Gerard DiLeo, MD, many doctors recommend an antiviral medication during the last month of pregnancy, “to diminish the theoretical silent shedding, and if there are no active lesions, allowing for a vaginal delivery.” But he adds that this is still quite investigational.
The National Women’s Health Information Center (NWHIC) confirms the difficulty in answering this question. “It is not yet known if all genital herpes drugs are safe for pregnant women to take,” says the organization. “Some doctors may recommend a herpes antiviral be taken either as a pill or through an IV (a needle into a vein) during pregnancy.” The NWHIC recommends that you discuss the possibility of medication with your doctor to determine what’s best for you and your baby.
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