Medical Video: How Contagious is Herpes?
Herpes is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a virus. There are two types of viruses that can cause herpes, namely type 1 herpes simplex virus and type 2 herpes simplex virus. This virus can affect anyone, including pregnant women. Then, is herpes during pregnancy dangerous? Check out the answer in this article.
Get to know the herpes virus and its symptoms
It has been mentioned above that herpes can be caused by two types of viruses, namely herpes simplex virus type 1 and type 2. The herpes simplex type 1 virus is oral herpes which causes blisters or blisters (filled with fluid) around or in the mouth. This type of herpes can spread through direct contact with wounds, for example when kissing or oral sex with a person infected with herpes.
Meanwhile, herpes simplex virus type 2 is genital herpes (genitalia) which causes wounds or blisters (filled with fluid) on the genitals. You can get herpes through sexual contact with someone who has herpes.
Initially you may not feel any symptoms. Only when the virus infection is getting worse, you will experience various symptoms that should be watched out for.
When first exposed to the genital herpes virus, a red lump may appear around the vagina of a pregnant woman. This can also be accompanied by a sensation of itching, burning, pain, or tingling in your genital area. You may also experience abnormal vaginal discharge, swelling of the lymph nodes in the groin, fever, headaches, and muscle aches.
Watch out, herpes during pregnancy can spread to your baby
Yes, herpes in pregnant women can be transmitted to babies. This can occur when the baby is born normal, which is through the vagina of pregnant women who have been exposed to the herpes virus. The risk of transmission to infants is greater when pregnant women are infected with the herpes virus in the third trimester of pregnancy. Because, the closer to the time of birth, the more late for the mother to produce antibodies that can protect her baby from the virus.
Your doctor may recommend labor by caesarean section if you are infected with the herpes virus at the end of pregnancy. Thus, babies are not exposed to the herpes virus that is around your vagina.
If you are infected with the herpes virus in the first trimester of pregnancy, a small possibility that can occur is a miscarriage or birth defect. Because the virus can enter the baby's body through the placenta. Fortunately, this rarely happens.
Another possibility is that the baby is protected from herpes because the immune system (immune system) of the mother will produce special antibodies to fight the herpes virus. This might save a baby's life if accompanied by an antiviral medication from a doctor.
What can happen if the baby catches herpes?
When a baby is infected with the herpes virus, this condition is called neonatal herpes. Babies can experience various serious problems, they can even endanger a baby's life. Reporting from the Baby Center, here are general problems that babies may experience with herpes.
- Skin, eye and mouth infections. This infection can occur when the baby is 1-2 weeks old. Usually marked by symptoms of sores or irritation on the skin. If herpes only occurs in the skin, eyes and mouth, babies may not have developmental problems. However, if not treated immediately, herpes can develop into more serious.
- Central nervous system disease. This usually occurs in babies aged 2-3 weeks. However, it can also appear at any time during the first 6 weeks of birth. Babies with central nervous system disease may show symptoms such as fever, lethargy, unwillingness to eat, fuss, to convulsions.
- Disseminated herpes (widespread herpes). This disease has affected many baby organs, such as the lungs and liver. This can happen in the first week of the baby's birth. However, this condition may be difficult to diagnose because the baby does not show symptoms of herpes sores.
How to prevent transmission of herpes during pregnancy?
Be careful when having sex during pregnancy, especially during the third trimester of pregnancy. Make sure your partner is free of genital herpes, or oral herpes. You may need to check yourself and your partner to find out if there is herpes before planning a pregnancy.
In addition, after the baby is born you should not let other people kiss your baby. Remember, herpes can spread through the kiss of an infected person. Herpes infections in newborns are also serious.