Cold sores and pregnancy, although rare, can be serious concern for new mothers who suffer from the herpes simplex virus. It is understandable to be concerned, so let’s take a deeper look into this health issue.
The herpes simplex virus that causes cold sores is not a genetic condition, meaning that you can’t automatically pass it on to your unborn child. The cold sore virus is only spread by coming in direct contact with someone who is infected.
Cold sores and pregnancy can be a health concern during the delivery of your baby. If you are about to give birth and have an active cold sore or herpes outbreak around the birth canal, your doctor will do a c-section delivery instead to protect your baby from coming in contact with the virus. It’s important to note that if you have herpes, but are not currently having an outbreak, a normal delivery should be fine.
Studies have shown that women who have had the herpes simplex virus long before becoming pregnant are at a very low risk of infecting the baby.
The one area that is of greatest concern is if you contract the herpes virus for the first time during your pregnancy. There will be a very high likelihood of passing it on to your baby. Neonatal herpes as it is termed, can be fatal to your baby. You must get in contact with your doctor immediately if this occurs. Since Neonatal herpes is not a reportable disease in many different states, it is impossible to know exactly how many cases there are each year. Estimates put the number at 1,000-3,000, so cold sores and pregnancy are a concern to be mindful of, especially if you have had them in the past.
What is more amazing, and quite sad, is the fact that 5%-8% of all newborn babies who contract neonatal herpes get the virus by being kissed from an adult who has an active cold sore. While this is hard to believe, it points out the fact that you have to be careful in who is around your new baby.
The best tip in regards to having cold sores and wanting to get pregnant is to talk with your health care provider beforehand. Regardless of whether you currently have an active herpes outbreak, or if it has been years ago, talk with the medical experts and get all your questions answered in regards to cold sores and pregnancy.