Can Herpes and pregnancy coexist? Many people are reluctant to talk about the disease, even to health care professionals. Suffers express they sometimes feel embarrassed about their disease. The perceived stigma associated with having a sexually transmitted disease can result is people failing to get essential information. Herpes is real, and it happens to real people every day. You are going to have to get over any barriers that would prevent you from getting out there and getting the information you need. Just remember that most of the healthcare people you will come in contact with are accustomed to dealing with this situation. They do not see anything odd or unusual about the situation or the disease.
Pregnancy is one of those times when you cannot afford to let a perceived stigma or embarrassment stand in the way. Let’s start with a couple of facts. The disease does not affect a woman’s ability to carry a child through to full term. Herpes is not passed from Mom to baby through genetics. Having Herpes does not prevent a woman from getting pregnant, or a man from fathering a child. These are some of the most frequently asked questions about having Herpes and how it affects pregnancy.
Now that we have those crucial questions out of the way we can look a little more in depth into how pregnancy and Herpes can coexist. A healthy young woman can easily and safely become pregnant and carry a baby to full term. The mother has antibodies in her bloodstream that will help decrease the chances of the baby will get herpes. She develops these antibodies from exposure to the various Herpes viruses. These antibodies do cross the placenta barrier to offer the same protection to the baby as the Mom enjoys. Premature babies have an elevated risk due to their underdeveloped immune system and the lack of antibodies from the Mom. Antibodies for herpes do not cross over the placental barrier until around twenty eight weeks. Moms who were infected after becoming pregnant may not have sufficient antibodies to protect their baby. They are also at greater risk for shedding the virus in the absence of a breakout. These factors could lead to infection of the baby at birth.
As a woman experiences the hormone changes that are associated with the pregnancy, she will usually experience an outbreak or two. The outbreaks need to be dealt with due to the pain and discomfort associated with the lesions. The only time that an outbreak may give the Mom concern would be if it occurred at the time of birth. Open lesions at the time of delivery can be a cause of concern. If this situation occurs, your physician will offer you direction as to how to minimize the chance of infecting the baby. Keep in mind that the vast majority of women do not experience an outbreak at the time of birth, even though they may have experienced one or more Herpes outbreaks during the pregnancy. Only ten to fourteen percent of women have an active breakout during delivery. Less than one tenth of one percent of babies contract neonatal herpes.
There has been a lot of research done around the use of Lysine to minimize the chance of Herpes outbreaks. Lysine is an amino acid that is reported to help lessen the number and severity of cold sores and Herpes outbreaks. It can be taken in pill format or applied directly to skin in a cream or ointment. Oral forms can be taken for longer periods of time than topical forms. The use of Lysine during pregnancy is still controversial. Most professionals and researchers suggest it be avoided or used with caution during pregnancy. It should unquestionably be avoided during the third trimester.
Acyclovir is one of the drugs of choice when treating herpes during pregnancy. It is only used for women experiencing frequent outbreaks. There are still risks associated with taking the drug during pregnancy.
As you can see, having genital Herpes does not prevent a woman from having children. There are some basic things that you need to know and follow. The most powerful weapon is knowledge. Arm yourself with information that helps you decide the best course of action for yourself and your baby. Establish an open dialog with the health care professionals that you choose to help you through the pregnancy. Do your own research, and then ask lots of questions. Herpes and pregnancy can coexist.