Very often cold Sores and Pregnancy go hand in hand. It is fairly common for pregnant women to have an outbreak of the HSV-1 virus, more commonly known as cold sores. Two common risk factors in developing cold sores include stress and a weakened immune system.
Since women tend to be under extra stress and have lower immune systems during pregnancy, cold sores can be prevalent. Many women become very concerned and fear for the safety of their baby. Although there is a small risk of the baby becoming infected, generally this is not something you will need to worry about. Let’s take a closer look at cold sores and pregnancy, and the risks involved.
Herpes (HSV-1) is the virus that causes cold sores and it can be very dangerous to newborns. Pregnant women however, have very little risk of passing on this infection to their babies. You cannot genetically pass the disease onto to your baby. Skin to skin contact is necessary for spreading of the HSV-1 virus. Therefore, the only way that you could pass on the cold sore virus to your baby would be during the actual birth.
If you have had an outbreak during pregnancy, you will need to make sure that the infection has not spread to the area around the birth canal. If it has, your physician will need to perform a c-section, in order to prevent you baby from having direct contact to the virus during the birthing process. If the outbreak has not spread, you will be able to deliver vaginally, without the fear of infecting your baby. So in reality, cold sores and pregnancy can be common, but generally do not pose any risk to your baby.
Perhaps the greatest fear of your baby actually becoming infected with cold sores is after you have given birth. Your baby can easily become infected by someone who has a current cold sore outbreak. Someone who is having a HSV-1 outbreak can easily pass on the disease to your baby just from kissing him or her. Therefore, it is important to make sure anyone who has a cold sore outbreak does not handle your newborn.
As you can see many women do worry about cold sores and pregnancy. However, there really is little concern of the virus affecting your baby. Since there has to be skin to skin contact the risk is minimal. Of course if you do have an outbreak during pregnancy you should always consult with your doctor. They can then work with you to make sure you minimize the risk of passing on the HSV-1 virus.