With proper medical treatment a women it’s very rare for an infant to be born with herpes. When an infant catches herpes that’s known as neonatal herpes. Neonatal herpes could be a fatal condition. It could cause damage to the central nervous system and serious cognitive impairments. It could even lead to physical disabilities. Even if the symptoms of herpes aren’t active there is always some chance that an infant could come in direct contact with the virus from travel through the vaginal passage. If a female with active genital herpes receives medical treatment the chance of an infant being born with neonatal herpes is less than one in a thousand.
If a couple is planning on having a baby and if one partner has genital herpes it’s important to inform your medical doctor. A good doctor should look for genital herpes during a routine checkup during any pregnancy. If your medical doctor knows you have knows you are at high risk to catch the virus s/he could be alert for potential herpes outbreaks. If a mother has herpes during the six to nine month period of her pregnancy a C-section is often performed. A C-section could prevent an infant from coming in direct contact with the virus and catching herpes during delivery. If herpes outbreaks occur during the later stages of pregnancy medication such as Acyclovir might be prescribed. It’s important to discuss the side effects of medication and to discuss if medication could be taken.
It’s also important for a pregnant mother to know what the signs and symptoms of herpes are. A doctor may examine a pregnant mother and not see active herpes outbreaks. That doesn’t always mean an infant is at very low risk of catching the virus. A burning, itching or tingling feeling could indicate that herpes is on the surface of the skin. Even if outbreaks don’t occur a C-section still could be performed. In many cases the symptoms of genital herpes are very mild. Even a simple cold sore could be caused by genital herpes. Herpes could also cause a bump, rash, cold sores on different areas of the genital area. If you believe you’re pregnant and have genital herpes outbreaks I would suggest seeing your medical provider while the symptoms are active. Herpes is most effectively diagnosed by having a doctor see active outbreaks.
Having safe sex could also contribute to having a healthy pregnancy. The American Sexual Health Associate doesn’t recommend that a pregnant mother have sexual intercourse if a partner has active outbreaks. If a pregnant mother doesn’t have herpes it would put her at high risk of catching the virus is she had intercourse with a partner who has active outbreaks, even if a condom is used. If the virus is acquired prior to pregnancy that chances are much lower than an infant will catch the virus. The most intense herpes outbreaks occur within the first year a person is diagnosed with the herpes virus.
Once your baby is born healthy and the pregnancy went well you will have a chance to spend time with your infant. It will be a relief knowing that your child is in good health. There will be family members who will want to hold and kiss the newborn child. There are cases where an infant catches herpes from a family member kissing the infant on the lips. Oral herpes rarely causes serious health conditions, but it could be discomforting at times to live with. It’s perfectly safe for an individual with genital herpes to share personal items with an infant. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention there are no confirmed cases where a person caught herpes from any sharing personal items.