Pregnant with genital herpes

I was diagnosed with genital herpes type 2 3 years ago. I slept with my now boyfriend and two days later was diagnosed. I was in denial for a very long time I guess I still am to a degree. I never once told my partner and still haven't, even though he more then likely gave it to me I couldn't find a way to tell him, I've never told anybody. The first year was the worst but since then I've learnt to accept it and probably only have 3 minor outbreaks a year. I am currently 9 weeks pregnant and I have experienced 3 extremely painful outbreak within the past 2 weeks. Having to suffer with constant outbreaks as well as constant morning sickness is no fun! My problem is my partner still doesn't know about the genital herpes. I know I have to tell my midwife because I know they have to keep an eye on outbreaks nearer delivery time but I just can't face my partner knowing! I don't know what to do! I feel so depressed about this, I want to enjoy my pregnancy but I constantly feel so worried and depressed. Has anybody else delivered a baby vaginally and they have herpes? Guess I need some advice.

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  • Oh gosh. I know the turmoil you must be having. I'm also very surprised you've been able to keep it from him. I'm going to be honest and you may not like what I have to say.... There is a VERY high chance he didn't give it to you. The incubation period can be many years. There is a chance you can transmit it to him even when you don't have an active outbreak. That bit scares me the most with my boyfriend. He does have a right to know and take the precautions he needs to take. I didn't have a choice. I was given it and it felt like a death sentence. I decided then that no future partner of mine was going to be put in that position. There are lots of useful organisations that can advise and support you on your approach. On the plus side, I was married for 15 years, had 4 kids naturally and my husband never seemed to have an outbreak. I wish you lots of luck.

  • A friend's story:

    At 19 yrs of age she was foolish and had unprotected sex with a vile person who gave her herpes (vile because he knew he was having an attack when he slept with her).

    Jump forward a few years - she's married and pregnant. Her husband had no idea about the herpes and never had an outbreak himself. I did question this and she explained that she could feel an outbreak coming on through her legs and managed to hold off sex during those episodes and as far as she's aware, her husband's not contracted the virus.

    After speaking with a sexual health worker, she decided to tell her husband she had herpes, had no idea how long she'd had it for and that it was probably ''activated'' by the pregnancy. He accepted all of that and was very supportive of her. She took Aciclovir towards the end of the pregnancy holding off any outbreak so the baby wouldn't be harmed by a natural birth.

    This brief rundown was printed with her permission and like you, she was in a mess about the whole thing, very worried about passing it onto her baby and scared senseless of telling her husband. It all depends on your relationship, but you may need to use similar lines to ease you anxiety. I understand that worrying and stress can bring about attacks?

    On a personal note, do try not to let this spoil your pregnancy - the misery of it all will detract from what a wonderful time it is. Make a decision, make it soon and get it off your chest one way or the other to help you avoid bringing about an outbreak.

    Do you have a good, trusted friend you can confide in? My friend spoke to me and besides the anger of the guy who knowingly infected her, was compassion and understanding for her situation. To an outsider, ''it's only herpes'' and a massive percentage of the population has it. Though after seeing her absolute fear and concern over telling her husband, I can appreciate where you're coming from.

    In the end, she said it was a total relief to get it off her chest and to finally be able to tell him. In a way, the pregnancy was filled with unforeseen blessings!

    Speak to a TRUSTED friend who's not going to tittle tattle about you or go to a sexual health clinic to talk it out with an impartial adviser who won't pass any judgement on you. But do speak to somebody soon to help allay your fears.

    Wishing you the very best of luck.

  • Talk it through with a helpliner on 0845 123 2305 - they know all about herpes and are up to date on the pregnancy guidelines too. Nearly every women in your situation will have a normal birth and the chance of infecting a baby is minute.

  • Ok first of all its medically impossible to diagnose herpes (1 or 2) only 2 days after exposure. In fact I really don't think you can diagnose any STI that fast especially a viral infection like HSV. So if it was the first time you slept with your boyfriend who is now your partner then for 100% you got HSV from someone else.

    As for the risk of passing HSV from mother to child during pregnancy (neonatal herpes) a risk does exist but in your case it is minuscule. Since you were infected with HSV years before becoming pregnant, your bodily has built up antibodies which you have already passed onto your unborn baby in utero. HSV is only really a risk to an unborn baby if the mother has her primary infection during pregnancy, especially over the course of the third trimester.

    Nevertheless you should tell your midwife but don't worry about a thing! There is really nothing to be concerned about.

  • Thanks for you replies! I've spoke to my widwife about it and she didn't really seem fazed at all! Only thing is since becoming pregnant my outbreaks seem to never go away, one goes and then another one pops up! Before becoming pregnant I would only get like 3 outbreaks a year. I understand in pregnancy your immune system is low but don't think I can go the whole nine months getting outbreaks. Did anybody suffer a lot of outbreakswhen they was pregnant?

  • This is fairly normal. During pregnancy the numbers of outbreaks tend to increase.

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