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A 34-year-old member asked:

Is my baby only exposed to the herpes virus by passing through the birth canal, not while it is in the womb?

2 doctor answers4 doctors weighed in
Dr. Richard Godt
Specializes in Obstetrics and Gynecology
Yes: Generally speaking, the baby will pick up the herpes virus on the way out of the birth canal and thus delivery should be by cesarean section if there are herpetic lesions present on the vulva at the time of labor.
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Dr. Jeff Livingston
Obstetrics and Gynecology 23 years experience
No: The overwhelming majority of cases where herpes was passed from mom to baby happen at delivery as the baby passes through the birth canal and comes into contact with virus being shed from the vaginal tissue. In rare cases though herpes can be passed during the pregnancy while still in the uterus. These are cases where the mom acquired her first exposure to herpes type 2 while pregnant.
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Last updated Aug 19, 2017

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