Pregnancy and cold sores often go hand in hand. It’s 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.
During pregnancy, women are under extra stress which can result in lower immune systems and an increased risk of developing cold sores. Many women become very concerned about the safety of their baby when they experience cold sores. Although there is a small risk of the baby becoming infected, cold sores are generally 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) virus can be dangerous for newborns if contracted; however, the risk of pregnant women passing on the infection to their babies is very low. You cannot pass the disease on to your baby through your genes. Skin-to-skin contact is required for the HSV-1 virus to spread, meaning the only way you could pass on a cold sore to your baby would be during the birthing process.
If you have a cold sore outbreak during pregnancy, your physician will need to evaluate whether or not the infection has spread to the area around the birth canal. If it has, a c-section will be necessary in order to prevent the baby from having direct contact with the virus during delivery. However, if the outbreak has not spread, you will be able to deliver vaginally without worry of infecting your baby. So in reality, cold sores and pregnancy are common but usually pose no risk to your baby.
After you give birth to your baby, you might be terrified at the thought of them becoming infected with cold sores. It’s actually quite easy for babies to catch HSV-1 from someone who is currently experiencing an outbreak themselves – all it takes is a kiss. So if anyone you know has a cold sore, it’s important to make sure they don’t have any contact with your newborn.
Cold sores and pregnancy are common concerns for many women. However, the risk of the virus affecting your baby is minimal. There has to be skin-to-skin contact for the virus to be transmitted, so the risk is low. If you do have an outbreak during pregnancy, always consult with your doctor. They can help you minimize the risk of passing on the HSV-1 virus.