Genital Herpes in Pregnancy

Genital herpes

Genital herpes is one of the common sexually transmitted infections marked by soreness and pain in the genitals. It can be caused by 2 types of Herpes Simplex Virus, HSV-1 and HSV-2.

HSV-1 actually causes oral herpes which can lead to sores and blisters in and around the mouth. HSV-2 commonly causes genital herpes leading to sores and blisters on the genitals.

Genital herpes can spread by:

  • Oral sex with a person having oral herpes
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Skin to skin contact with the infected area
  • Sharing of sex toys


Herpes virus is not always active, thus, people with genital herpes have no or very mild symptoms. These symptoms can vary a lot.

For some people, if they get infected for the first time, then symptoms might take months to appear. Thus they may not even know that they have herpes virus in their body. For others, symptoms can appear just after getting exposed to the herpes virus.

Some people can get very painful sores and blisters while others may have mild or no symptoms as such.

In case of symptoms, some of the common ones are-

  • Red bumps or vulva, which turns into blisters that after rupturing become painful sores.
  • Itchy and burning sensation
  • Pain while urinating

Effects on the baby

If you have had herpes before pregnancy, then it is likely that your baby is at lower of getting the same. In case you catch herpes within 28 weeks of pregnancy, then your baby might get protection by the antibodies produced by your body. Catching herpes few weeks before delivery can put your baby at risk of getting herpes as your body cannot make antibodies to protect the baby at that time.

Your baby can get skin, eye and mouth infection (SEM) and in some cases the baby’s central nervous system can also be affected.


There is no treatment for herpes as such but medications can help to reduce the symptoms and chances of infecting others.


In the case of Herpes, prevention is indeed the best cure. Like any other sexually transmitted disease, genital herpes can be prevented by not having sex with any infected person. If your partner is infected, then use of latex condom is safe.

Tell your doctor if you have had herpes before getting pregnant. You might be given medications to prevent outbreaks around the delivery period. If there is an outbreak during delivery then you might be recommended to go for cesarean to protect your baby from getting the infection and have a safe delivery.

Have a safe pregnancy and for all pregnancy related information download Pregnancy Health, Diet and Fitness by Ango!