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Top Tips for Pregnant Women with Herpes Simplex Virus

By Elizabeth Stein
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Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) impacts 40 percent of women across the U.S. Pregnant women with herpes can transmit the virus to the skin, eyes, brain or central nervous system of their newborn. Herpes virus can cause blindness, disability and death. It is very important that adequate screening and treatment is considered throughout the pregnancy. Neonatal infection can occur in the uterus during pregnancy or during delivery, passing through the birth canal (vagina).

Midwife & leading women’s health expert, Elizabeth Stein CNM, MSN, MPH of Ask Your Midwife (, sheds light on this infection and explains what pregnant women with herpes can do to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy and birth.

Here are six top tips to keep in mind:

1. A pregnant woman and her partner should be tested for the presence of Herpes Simplex Virus 1 and Herpes Simplex 2 IgG antibodies (HSV 1 and HSV 2 IgG Ab). This is a blood test and should be done at the first prenatal visit. If you have been exposed to herpes virus or have had an outbreak, the virus is still in your body.

In response, your immune system will produce antibodies that last for life.

Antibodies are good - they usually prevent the virus from attacking your baby. The lack of antibodies means you can catch herpes. It takes your body approximately 8-12 weeks to develop antibodies (known as seroconversion) that could prevent herpes transmission to your fetus or newborn. Therefore, first infection during the last trimester of pregnancy (28-40 weeks) poses the greatest risk for your baby to become infected with neonatal herpes.

2. A pregnant woman should do everything she can to prevent infection in her newborn. If the woman does not have antibodies but her partner does, then the risk of first infection exists. A first herpes infection during pregnancy (especially the third trimester) poses a significant risk of infection of the fetus while in the womb as well as during delivery.

Add a Comment4 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I cure my herpes with this natural
treatment: >>
I began this treatment two months behind and permanently cure my herpes outbreaks, now I can have a quiet life with my partner without fear of infecting herpes.
Greetings from New york.

March 25, 2015 - 9:55am
EmpowHER Guest

Being infected with herpes simplex virus while expecting a baby is not a pleasant thing. Worrying about infecting the fetus is one thing. You also need to think about miscarriage or premature labor that is closely associated with those with herpes virus. If you are skeptical about using cold sore medicines like Valtrex, there are effective remedies you can use. I found a topical solution at that works very faster. Even faster than medications that you probably use. What you want is quick healing. As long as the virus is back into its dormancy, the risk of infecting your baby is very low. It doesn't matter whether you or your lover has the virus. It does not mean if you don't have it, you can assume your baby is safe. Of course, the best scenario is both of you don't have the virus at all.

November 14, 2013 - 7:30pm
EmpowHER Guest

Did you know there's an all natural herpes supplement guaranteed to stop all genital herpes outbreaks. You can read about it at

January 12, 2013 - 4:25pm
EmpowHER Guest

Did you know there are researchers out there who have the technology for a potential Herpes cure?

Please check out the Herpes Cure Coalition (HCC) website. Our mission is to aid researchers with funding and support who are the closest to a Herpes Cure. We achieve this mission by forming a Coalition of individuals and websites across the globe.

Please see our page and find out about current work to cure herpes.

March 12, 2010 - 3:58am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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