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Should a woman with herpes get pregnant

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SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: What You Need to Know About Genital Herpes

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SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: What is Neonatal Herpes?

Genital herpes: What you should know about sex and pregnancy

When Alexandra Harbushka was 25, she told an audience at a conference that she had herpes. The result? After her speech, many people approached her to tell her that they, too, had herpes, and that they'd never told anyone until now. Alexandra was curious. Why weren't people talking about herpes?

How could she help people with herpes meet one another, talk candidly about it, and access medically accurate, stigma-free information? She decided to start Life with Herpes an online community where people with herpes can connect.

One of the most prominent topics in the community? Fertility concerns. Alexandra says both men and women wonder how having herpes will impact their family planning. Will they have to use condoms forever to avoid transmitting herpes? Will they have to conceive via IVF in order to not infect a baby? Will herpes negatively affect pregnancy?

Genital herpes most commonly caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 HSV-2 , may cause pain, itching, small red bumps or white blisters on the genitals, and ulcers.

Oral herpes cold sores or fever blisters is most commonly caused by herpes simplex virus type 1 HSV It's spread via contact with saliva, and many people are infected with it during childhood.

Herpes is herpes. HSV-1, which causes oral herpes, does cause some cases of genital herpes. You can spread oral herpes to the genitals via oral sex. The only way to know if you have herpes for sure is to get tested, which you can do in your doctor's office, or a clinic like Planned Parenthood. Make sure you ask your healthcare provider to specifically screen for herpes if you're getting tested for STIs. If you have a sore or blister, the doctor will take a sample of fluid and evaluate it.

There is also a blood test for herpes. Herpes is a virus, so it can't be cured. But it can be managed with medicine, which can prevent future outbreaks and the chance that you could give it to someone else.

Your doctor can also prescribe medicine to help ease your symptoms when you're having an outbreak. She's met people through the Life with Herpes community who don't have sex or date because they're afraid of passing the virus on, and fear that it will harm their ability to conceive. The reality, though, is that unlike other STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhea—which, when untreated, can lead to an infection that might potentially damage the fallopian tubes and uterus—herpes usually doesn't impact your ability to get pregnant according to some sources, like this recent review paper finding that herpes is not a leading factor in infertility.

That said, a study of Iranian men showed that those with HSV-1 had a low sperm count. There's a rare strain of herpes known as HHV-6A a different one from that which causes sores or blisters , which can lead to miscarriage and might be the root of unexplained infertility for some.

HHV-6A infects the uterine lining and can make it an inhospitable place for an egg to implant. A biopsy of the uterine lining can be done to find out if you have this strain, but if you don't know you have herpes in the first place, you may not ask to have this done.

If you're pregnant, have genital herpes, and are worried about passing it on to your baby, keep in mind that the risk is small According to the American Sexual Health Association , "While neonatal herpes is a serious condition, it is also very rare. Less than 0. This means that most women with genital herpes give birth to healthy babies. Don't let herpes stigma stop you from telling your doctor that you have it, urges Alexandra.

Once your doctor knows you have herpes, she can monitor you for outbreaks, since it's critical to be aware of them before you give birth. If you do have an outbreak or signs of one, like pain, tingling, or itching , it's recommended that you have a C-section, so that the baby won't come into contact with the sores.

If your partner has genital or oral herpes and you don't, avoid sex during outbreaks, and make sure to use barrier methods, like condoms and dental dams, every time you have any kind of sex during pregnancy. Your partner should also talk to their doctor about getting on suppressant therapy medication that prevents outbreaks during your pregnancy.

Contracting genital herpes during pregnancy is a different story; it can lead to miscarriage or early labor, especially if it occurs in the third trimester. Neonatal herpes which is rare can be transmitted to the baby when herpes is present in the birth canal during delivery. If it is, it can lead to damage to the nervous system and even death. This is why it's super important to visit your doctor if you suspect you might have herpes, or if you think you've been exposed — your doctor can prescribe antivirals to reduce the possibility of an outbreak.

It's completely normal to panic when you're diagnosed with herpes. Alexandra describes her experience with diagnosis and the aftermath as a thunderstorm, and it took her a long time to emerge from it.

A community like Life With Herpes can be the key to finding support and strength, and it's vital to arm yourself with accurate information about herpes and the reality of it, especially when it comes to your future. If you're interested in more herpes resources, check out our interview with Laureen HD , who started a YouTube channel to educate, destigmatize, and make relatable content for people who were going through the same thing.

The bottom line: You can get pregnant and deliver a healthy baby if you have herpes. Ultimately, you still need to prioritize your sexual health by getting tested for STIs.

Then, urges Alexandra, "open the lines of communication with your healthcare provider so you can develop a game plan. Follow her chaneldubofsky. This is a space for us to talk about health, fertility, careers, and more. All people with ovaries are welcome including trans and non-binary folks!

Herpes and fertility: Myths, realities, and stigma Sep 18, 5 min read. One of the most popular topics in the Life With Herpes community is how herpes affects pregnancy and fertility. We chatted with the community founder to get the scoop. If you have the same questions, read on — we've got the facts.

Did you like this article? Join our community on Slack This is a space for us to talk about health, fertility, careers, and more. Recent Posts Is your period normal? What you need to know about your cycle and when to talk with your doc May 12, The Modern guide to at-home pregnancy tests May 04, Jane van Dis, MD, explains the truth about going off birth control Apr 30, More good reads. Apr 28, Danielle Campoamor. Modern Fertility.

Feb 04, Dr. Sharon Briggs, PhD. Mar 03, Talia Shirazi.

Herpes and Pregnancy

If a woman with genital herpes has virus present in the birth canal during delivery, herpes simplex virus HSV can be spread to an infant, causing neonatal herpes , a serious and sometimes fatal condition. Neonatal herpes can cause an overwhelming infection resulting in lasting damage to the central nervous system, mental retardation, or death. Medication, if given early, may help prevent or reduce lasting damage, but even with antiviral medication, this infection has serious consequences for most infected infants.

Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection. This means that it can be passed along to another person by any type of sexual contact.

In the US, one in four women is estimated to have genital herpes. Passing the virus onto your baby during childbirth can have potentially devastating consequences. Luckily, treatment reduces this risk, as do several other factors. Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection STI.

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It can be stressful to know that having genital herpes during pregnancy means there is a possibility your child could become infected with the virus during labor or shortly after a vaginal delivery. That said, this may not be necessary in all cases. Only a small percentage of neonatal herpes transmissions occur during the pregnancy itself. The vast majority happen during birth. Not all pregnant women with genital herpes are at equal risk of transmitting the virus to their infant. The risk of neonatal herpes is highest, by far, for women who become infected with herpes for the first time while they are pregnant. That's particularly true if they become infected near the end of their pregnancy. Transmission rates from mother to infant are substantially lower for women who have been infected for a long period of time. There is also some data that women with genital HSV-1 infections may have a greater risk of giving their infants neonatal herpes than women with HSV

What pregnant women actually need to know about herpes

Please note: This information was current at the time of publication. But medical information is always changing, and some information given here may be out of date. For regularly updated information on a variety of health topics, please visit familydoctor. Genital herpes infections are sexually transmitted diseases. Symptoms can include painful sores in the genital area, itching, painful urination, vaginal discharge and tender lumps in the groin.

If you've been diagnosed with herpes you might wonder if it can cause miscarriage or later pregnancy loss.

One step many experts recommend is that you become informed about herpes simplex virus HSV. This common virus is usually a mild infection in adults. But in infants, HSV can cause a rare, but serious, illness. But either type of HSV can infect either part of the body.

Is Vaginal Birth Safe for Women With Genital Herpes?

Transmission of herpes simplex virus HSV infection from mother to baby can occur when the mother has active genital herpes lesions at the time of a vaginal birth. Herpes infection in the newborn baby is a serious condition and is associated with a risk of neonatal death. Most poor outcomes for babies occur where the mother is unaware she has had a herpes infection. The first episode of infection can be associated with severe symptoms including painful genital ulcers, pain passing urine or inability to pass urine, fever and headache.

SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Herpes Simplex Virus & Conception / Alynn Alexander, MD

New Patient Appointment. Call Us: New Patient Appointment or Your Pregnancy Matters. About one in six Americans ages 14 to 49 has genital herpes, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Genital herpes typically is caused by HSV-2, a herpes virus strain.

Can Herpes Cause Miscarriage or Later Pregnancy Loss?

When I found out I was pregnant—three years after I found out I had herpes—I immediately asked my obstetrician what I could expect of my regular symptoms during the course of my pregnancy. She told me they likely wouldn't change much. It turned out she was wrong. I had chronic outbreaks, which consisted of nerve pain, itching, and tingling. These symptoms persisted for the majority of my pregnancy, but my care provider seemed surprised, and unsure what to do—a common problem for pregnant women in my position, I soon learned. It wasn't that she didn't know how to treat my genital herpes during my pregnancy—she prescribed me a higher dosage of antiviral medication, in accordance with guidelines—but she didn't really seem to have a sense of what could happen next. My pregnancy brought an increase in both frequency and severity of my herpes symptoms.

Most women think that having herpes during pregnancy is a fairly If you do have an active infection at delivery, your baby should be delivered by Cesarean.

Got herpes? Yet the issue is much more complicated than is often perceived. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, However, when you factor in the number of people who have genital herpes caused by HSV-1, the strain typically associated with fever blisters of the mouth , the number skyrockets to approximately 1 in 3, says David Kimberlin, M. In other words, you could very well have the virus and not even know it.

NCBI Bookshelf. Herpes infections are only rarely passed on to babies during childbirth. Herpes infections can be life-threatening for newborn babies.

There are two types of herpes simplex virus HSV , the viral infection that causes genital herpes:. Both are spread through skin-to-skin contact and are actually most often transmitted by someone who has no visible sores or blisters. Many people infected with the herpes virus never experience symptoms.

When Alexandra Harbushka was 25, she told an audience at a conference that she had herpes.

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