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If a woman has primary herpes (her first ever encounter with the virus) at any point in the pregnancy, there is the possibility of the virus crossing the placenta and infecting the baby in the uterus.This transmission of the virus to the fetus causes neonatal herpes, a potentially fatal condition.The main concern for women who already have herpes is to prevent the baby’s skin from coming into contact with an active outbreak during childbirth.If a woman is having an outbreak during labor and delivery and there is an active herpes outbreak in or near the birth canal, the doctor will do a cesarean section to protect the baby.
In fact, nearly 25% of all pregnant women have genital herpes.
For some women herpes outbreaks may increase as the pregnancy progresses.
This is probably because of the immune suppression that takes place to prevent the mother’s body from rejecting the fetus and the change in hormones.
Herpes is not a genetic condition and so cannot be passed on from parent to child in this way.
Herpes is also not spread through blood, saliva, semen or vaginal fluids, instead, the herpes virus is spread by direct skin to skin contact.