022: #askalexandra How Does Having Herpes Affect Pregnancy?
Ask, Answer & Get The Facts About Herpes
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Life With Herpes Podcast
Welcome to episode 22 of Life With Herpes! As always I'm excited to be here with you, especially for these episodes because each #AskAlexandra show is my chance to get to know you in a more personal way.
Today our question comes from Destiny in Washington, D.C., I love your city Destiny, especially the cherry blossoms in the spring! Destiny wrote in because she wants to know how having herpes affects pregnancy and her baby, join me to hear the answer on episode 22 of Life With Herpes!
More About Life With Herpes
First of all Destiny congratulations! How exciting for you, I bet you are thrilled about your pregnancy and your baby on the way!
This is a great question, thank you for asking it. In fact, this was one of the first questions I wanted to know too, after my diagnosis. I remember asking how herpes will affect pregnancy and having a baby.
Tweetable: “Find out what is best for you, your body and your pregnancy.” - Alexandra Harbushka
Here's the two-part answer: if you got herpes while you're pregnant it's a little bit trickier then if you've been living with herpes for awhile before your pregnancy. First, let's look at the situation if you've been living with herpes for awhile.
It's not that big of a deal for you, your body has antibodies that have been made by your immune system for a while now. You may experience more outbreaks because your body is stressed and your body is changing - you are growing a whole new human being after all!
It can get tricky during the birth, however. If you are planning a vaginal birth and you have an outbreak at the time, you can pass it to your baby. Now that can be dangerous for your baby because of the traumatic and dramatic experience of birth. After all, your baby has been in the womb and protected for last nine months!
And it can be difficult and challenging for your baby if it does get the virus during birth. You can solve this by doing a C-section, of course.
But if you want to do a vaginal birth you can, just be sure you talk to your doctor and let them know you have herpes. They need to put you on an anti-viral, when and how will be up to your doctor. For a lot of soon-to-be-moms it's about 2-4 weeks before their due date. Keep all of this in mind if you are pregnant or want to be pregnant. The key is to know your body and tell your doctor so they can do everything possible to protect you and keep your baby safe and keep your baby from getting herpes.
The second part of the answer to this question is what happens if you are pregnant and have just gotten herpes. I’m not going to lie to you, this scenario is going to be a little more challenging.
Your immune system is down after contracting the virus and you don't have the antibodies yet, so you can pass it on to your baby more easily than if you had had the virus before becoming pregnant. Again the key here is to talk to your doctor. Your doctor will know what to do, and will most likely prescribe anti-viral drugs to ease your symptoms and reduce the risk of infecting your baby.
It's just going to be a bit harder on you. There is a rare situation in which the baby can be infected, but this fact isn't meant to scare you! I’m telling you this just to make sure you know the symptoms and complications that can happen. But if you do get scared remember that we have been birthing babies forever! Mommies lived, babies lived. The key is this isn't unique or rare, it's common and your medical professional can deal with this. Be sure to tell your doctor!
And if you are pregnant and think you have herpes but are afraid to find out, go see your doctor and find out. That can make an enormous difference between having proper care for you and your child, or not. Do it for your baby even if you are scared!
Thanks again for this great question Destiny! When you have a question like she did you can send it to me by going to LifeWithHerpes.com. When you’re there scroll down to the bottom, you'll see the #AskAlexandra section. Click on that link, and fill out the Google form with your question. Remember you can remain anonymous!
Want to have more conversations like this one with other people who have herpes? Join the secret Facebook group and continue chatting there, after you’ve listened to episode 22 of Life With Herpes.