ZocdocAnswersCould I pass my herpes on to my child during child birth?

Question

Could I pass my herpes on to my child during child birth?

I ?ve had herpes for 3 years. I take Valtrex to control it. I'm pregnant now and worried it will be passed to my child when I give birth. Is this possible? Should I talk to my doctor about this?

Answer

When a mother-to-be has a history of genital herpes, there are always measures that need to be taken to prevent transmission to the baby during birth. This is important because baby's can get the herpes infections when exposed to an open sore. When this happens we call it neonatal herpes. This is a very serious disease which can cause many health problems in the new baby. It is widely accepted that the risk of transmission from mother to baby is very very low when there are no active sores on the mothers. Typically what happens is the mother takes a suppressive medication such as Valtrex (as you are doing) to help prevent any open sores. At each appointment with your OBGYN, he so she will check you for sores. Just before you have the baby you will be thoroughly checked one more time. If you have no sores, then you will be able to deliver the baby vaginally. If you do have evidence of active herpes, then you will need to deliver the baby by c-section. The best physician for you to ask about this is your OBGYN that will perform your delivery. He or she will tell you what their protocol is for preventing herpes transmission during childbirth.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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