Genital Herpes in Pregnancy

Author: Dr Peter England OBGYN

Genital Herpes, also called herpes simplex virus (or HSV) is important to understand during your pregnancy.

Remember that the virus, and genital herpes is very common. More than 20% of people have a past history of the herpes virus. 

It’s important to tell your obstetrician or pregnancy care giver if you know that you carry the herpes virus as they can then provide you any updated information on how best to care for yourself.

There are medications for HSV that you are can safely take during your pregnancy to avoid any flare ups.

If you have a flare up of HSV, your unborn baby is not at risk of contracting the virus, however they are at risk if the flare up occurs and is present during their birth.

At 36 weeks gestation, there is an option to take medication to help avoid a flare up of genital herpes. Speak with your doctor to learn more about if this medication is advisable for you.

If you do have an acute flare up of genital herpes at the time your baby is ready to be born, it is advisable to have an emergency c/section to reduce the risk of transmitting the virus to the baby and potentially causing severe illness in the early neonatal period.