Herpes is a disease caused by herpes simplex virus (HSV) and is usually transmitted by sexual contact. The disease will be characterized by the outbreaks of painful lesions and blisters in the skin, especially in the genital areas.
A woman having herpes may suffer from an outbreak during her pregnancy. She can also develop the condition during the first two trimesters of her pregnancy. In the above said situations, the woman will also develop antibodies against the disease, which will be then passed on to the baby thus making him immune to herpes.
But in 5 percent of the cases, the initial attack of herpes during the first and second trimesters of pregnancy might prove to be harmful for the baby, causing him to contract neonatal herpes which can turn to be fatal.
The condition becomes extremely dangerous, if herpes occurs during the third trimester of pregnancy. Here there is a very high chance of the virus to be passed on to the baby. In such situations, the doctor will prescribe medications from the 36th week of pregnancy until the delivery.
If the mother experiences a herpes outbreak at the time of delivery, then the doctor will opt for a caesarean section. This is because a normal delivery may cause passage of disease from the mother to the baby. The infection may pass on from the sores around the mother’s vagina to the baby’s sensitive parts like the eyes, nose and mouth.
In such cases, the babies can be treated with antiviral medications and will not usually display any other problems. Sometimes, the infected baby may display developmental problems of the nervous system. In certain extreme cases, the function of the lungs and liver of the baby might be affected which will finally result in his death.
Oral drug treatment for herpes is not recommended during pregnancy, taking into consideration the health of the mother and the baby. But you can take certain measures to get relief from the difficulties caused by the disease.
Always wear loose fitting and comfortable clothing. Wear clean cotton undergarments and keep the genital areas clean. You can also apply moist tea bags, cornstarch and ice bags on the affected areas so as to reduce the irritations. Finally, if your partner has herpes, do abstain from having sex until he is completely cured of the disease.