Genital herpes is a viral condition. People with genital herpes get painful blisters on the skin and mucous membranes. The size, location and content of these blisters differ.
The problem with genital herpes is that it tends to reoccur. Though the patient could experience large periods of time with no symptoms, genital blisters can appear once again at any time, putting an end to the relapse.
Why Genital Herpes is Dangerous during Pregnancy
Women with genital herpes who are trying to get pregnant should keep several things in mind. A Caesarean section is a must when it comes to giving birth, especially if blisters are currently affecting the genital region. Pregnant ladies with herpes should also know that they could pass the virus to their fetus.
The manner in which genital herpes evolves during pregnancy is no different than the manner in which each individual experiences the disease. The blisters, painful sensation and fading of the disease are pretty much the same. The only difference in the case of a pregnant lady is that her condition has the potential to harm the fetus.
The development of a herpes infection in a newborn can lead to serious organ damage. Genital herpes can even cause death. Prevention and safe sexual practices are the only ways to make sure that you stay safe and that you diminish the chance of getting any sexually transmitted disease (STD).
How can a Mom Pass the Infection to Her Newborn Child?
The infection is most often passed from mom to her baby during childbirth. It can occur during the development of the fetus very rarely. This fact can give some moms comfort – it is very atypical for the baby to develop herpes inside the uterus.
The risk for the fetus depends on the type of infection. The risk is highest if an acute herpes infection has occurred during the third trimester of pregnancy, especially if the infection manifests itself shortly before the expected delivery.
If the mom-to-be has been suffering from herpes for some time, the risk for the baby decreases. Her body is already coping with the infection by producing anti-bodies. These anti-bodies have the power to protect the unborn child from the infection.
If you are suffering from herpes and the blisters appear shortly before you are expected to give birth, you will have to rely on a surgical procedure – Caesarian section. Natural birth is acceptable, in case the mom is experiencing a relapse.
Precautions and Additional Tips
Inform your gynecologist right away if you are pregnant and have any doubts about a genital herpes infection. Your doctor should also know if you have already been diagnosed with the infection.
Even if you experience a minor symptom, let your doctor know. It could be herpes. Pay special attention to any unusual occurrences during the final trimester of your pregnancy, when the danger for your baby is highest.
Always practice safe sex. Many people underestimate STDs and believe that such things can solely happen to other people. Some STDs are deadly, others will affect your chances to have a child or will endanger the life of your unborn baby. When you decide to have a baby, get yourself and your partner tested for sexually transmitted diseases.
Oral sex can also be dangerous. The herpes virus can affect the mouth and its lining. If your partner is suffering from a mouth infection, it could get passed to you through oral sex. This form of intimacy should be avoided during the final months of pregnancy.
Anti-viral medications can be used during pregnancy solely under strict medical supervision. Such medications will diminish the damage and symptoms of herpes, though the chance for the infection getting passed from mom to baby still exists.