The genital herpes is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) responsible for attacking the skin or mucous membranes of the genitals of men and women.
The virus that causes genital herpes ( Herpes simplex ) behaves similarly in pregnant and non-pregnant women. The major problem with herpes in pregnancy is the risk of transmission to the baby. When this happens it is called neonatal herpes , a condition that can be serious and even lethal for the child.
This transmission, called vertical transmission, occurs during delivery when the baby has contact with contaminated secretions in the vaginal canal or maternal blood. Even when the pregnant woman has no symptoms, the risk of transmission exists.
What are the risks of genital herpes in pregnancy?
The greatest risk occurs when the woman becomes infected near the date of delivery, that is, when the primary infection appears in the last weeks of pregnancy. Rarely, herpes can be transmitted inside the uterus during pregnancy, and it is not an infection that usually causes malformation problems for the fetus.
However, when it comes to a severe case of genital herpes, during the first months of pregnancy there is a risk, even if small, of the woman having a miscarriage.
However, when the baby is infected at the time of delivery, the virus can affect the central nervous system and cause more serious problems to the child’s health, which can result in brain damage, blindness and even death in more severe cases. For this reason, prenatal care is extremely important.
How to avoid transmission to the baby?
When the woman is infected with the virus before pregnancy, the chances of transmission to the baby are reduced, as her body is already able to produce antibodies to the viruses that are temporarily transmitted to the baby when it is inside the mother’s womb. .