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A 40-year-old member asked:

Will your baby be born with birth defects if you have genital herpes?

3 doctor answers7 doctors weighed in
Dr. Yashica Robinson White
Obstetrics and Gynecology 17 years experience
No: Genital herpes does not cause birth defects. It is important to understand that it is not recommended for a woman to have a vaginal delivery if she has active lesions (an outbreak) when it is time to deliver. This reduces the risk of neonatal (newborn) infections.
Dr. Marilynn Frederiksen
Maternal-Fetal Medicine 47 years experience
Birth defects: Genital herpes can be passed to the newborn as the child passes through the birth canal. Currently we are starting Valtrex (valacyclovir) on women who have a history of genital herpes in the third trimester decreasing their risk of passing the virus to their baby. A woman with active genital herpes during labor is delivered by cesarean section.
Dr. James Ferguson
Pediatrics 46 years experience
No: The likely outcome will depend on the situation.If you are having your first outbreak near the time of delivery, the kid may get herpes encephalitis and die. If you have occasional outbreaks, and get pregnant, there is about 4% risk of transmission to the newborn during regular delivery, (same outcome). Suppressing outbreaks with meds/c-section delivery protect baby.

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Last updated Feb 26, 2017
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