What’s the best way to treat genital herpes during pregnancy?
You’ll probably be prescribed an antiviral medication to take as you near your due date. Taking it can decrease your chances of a flare-up during delivery, which will prevent your baby from contracting herpes.
“If we know a woman has a history of genital herpes, we’ll tend to give her acyclovir, an antiviral medicine, starting around 34 or 36 weeks, to try to suppress any episodes of herpes so she can have a vaginal birth,” says Sharon Phelan, MD, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of New Mexico.
If you do happen to have an active infection near the time of birth, your doctor may recommend you deliver via c-section to prevent passing the virus on to baby.
What can I do to prevent genital herpes?
A monogamous relationship with a herpes-free partner is your best bet. If your partner has a history of herpes, it’s important to use a condom every time you have sex, because herpes can be spread even when there’s no active infection. Avoid sex completely when your partner has a herpes outbreak. You can also ask about antiviral medication for your partner.
If you’re not infected with herpes and not in a monogamous relationship, avoid sex altogether in the final weeks of pregnancy to avoid a herpes infection.
What do other pregnant moms do when they have genital herpes?
“I haven't had an outbreak in years, but I'll be getting a prescription at my appointment on Monday, just in case. Pregnancy can affect your immune system, so even if you haven't had an outbreak, you might get one with a lowered immune system.”
“My doctor suggested that I get on Valtrex for the last month of my pregnancy just to avoid an outbreak. Well, I've been having some discomfort and weird stabbing pains down there since Monday, and finally, today I felt that I'd had enough and called my doctor. I told the nurse what I was feeling and that I was scared that I might be having an outbreak. She said she would get with the doctor and call me about coming in to get checked and possibly going ahead and getting on Valtrex now instead of waiting.”
“I used to take medicine daily as a preventative measure, but once I found out I was pregnant, my doctor had me stop, and he said that I didn't have to take it unless I was having an outbreak, and then it was safe.”
Are there any other resources for genital herpes during pregnancy?
March of Dimes
Plus, more from The Bump:
Discharge During Pregnancy
STDs During Pregnancy
Gonorrhea During Pregnancy
See More: Pregnancy Conditions , Pregnancy Health , Pregnancy Symptoms , Prenatal Tests , 1st Trimester
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Reminder: Medical info on The Bump is FYI only and doesn't replace a visit to a medical professional.