Herpes & Pregnancy
Are you a pregnant mamma living with herpes?
Are you terrified that you might transmit the virus to your baby?
Have you even told your healthcare provider you have herpes?
As a doctor, woman and carrier of the herpes virus for many years, I can totally relate to all of your fears related to pregnancy and herpes.
I am the mother of a healthy, happy girl and I was able to effectively manage my herpes and deliver her all naturally. It CAN be done!
Before we go into details…
Take a DEEP BREATH, because what I’m about to share with you might come as a surprise.
The good news is that the statistics are on your side.
One third to one fourth of all pregnant women have herpes and yet 90% don’t know it.
But before we go any further, if you are pregnant and you know you have herpes, then you need to tell your healthcare provider. There is NOTHING to be shameful of. Disclosing your status to your healthcare provider will further diminish any risks of transmission.
Did you know?
Neonatal herpes (herpes of a newborn) is not even considered a reportable disease according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) www.cdc.gov
The CDC is a branch of our public health system whose sole purpose is to monitor diseases worldwide. If the CDC does not list neonatal herpes as a reportable disease, then I think it is fair to say that you do not need to be overly concerned about the potential of a newborn dying from genital herpes. However, neonatal herpes is something you need to be educated about so that you can decrease the likelihood of transmission.
Here are some more facts that I hope you will find comforting.
– A recent three year study in Canada (2000–2003) revealed a neonatal HSV incidence of 5.9 per 100,000 live births (.00006%) As you can see, neonatal herpes is extremely rare!
– 80%-90% of neonatal herpes cases are from women who didn’t know they had it. Therefore, women who know they have herpes can greatly reduce the risk of transmission.
– Most neonatal herpes is managed effectively with treatment. Some women opt to use suppressive antiviral therapy during week 36 of gestation.
I am happy to say giving birth was the most empowering, miraculous moment of my life. The ability to give birth naturally is truly a gift from God.
Please do not allow the fear of neonatal herpes to consume you. Educate yourself and enjoy your pregnancy. These are magical times…embrace them!
Kropp RY, Wong T, Cormier L, Ringrose A, Buron S, Embree JE, Steben M, et al., “Neonatal Herpes Simplex Virus Infections in Canada: Results of a 3-year National Prospective Study.” Pediatrics, June 2006, p. 1955-62 117 (6).