Pregnant with genital herpes: I was diagnosed with... - BASHH


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Pregnant with genital herpes

Courtney25 profile image

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.

16 Replies

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.

Hanson11 profile image
Hanson11 in reply to Courtney25

Hey how are you able to go through pregnancy without your bf knowing. Have you asked your doctor not to mention it? Isn’t it spoken about in doctors appointments etc?

Courtney25 profile image
Courtney25 in reply to Hanson11

Hi, to be honest when I mentioned it to my Midwife she didn’t seem bothered about it at all and it wasn’t mentioned again once during my pregnancy. X

Same1 profile image
Same1 in reply to Courtney25

Hi go to see a homeopathy I went twice to see one and have had NO outbreaks since and it’s been 3years since going to her. I really think she cured me I use to have 5 outbreaks at least a year now NOTHINg honestly it’s a lot of money but soooo worth it!!! Homeopathy defo the way forward xx

Hey Courtney, I’m in the exact same position as you. I’ve spoken to my doctor who just says anti virals will be given from week 36 and the baby should already have antibodies to protect it during birth anyway so it’s not a huge worry. I’m honestly considering having an elective c section to avoid having it discussed openly in front of my partner and having the whole birth theme becoming Herpes and ruining the whole thing, and am worried that the hospital staff will discuss it openly if a normal labour proceeds, despite any requests I make to ask that my medical details are kept confidential. Did this happen with you? Thanks so much for sharing

Courtney25 profile image
Courtney25 in reply to Imogen5

Hi Imogen, I had a normal vaginalbitth. Herpes was never ever mentioned. I took medication from. 36 weeks and didn’t have an outburst at the time of labour. Tbh I was in so much pain I didn’t think of herpes. Currently pregnant again and not worried at all. I assume you’ve had herpes since before you got pregnant which makes The chance of your baby getting it tiny. If you really was scared you can say you would like a csection for a different reason. C section though is major surgery that you really don’t need xx

Imogen5 profile image
Imogen5 in reply to Courtney25

Thanks so much Courtney, that’s a relief to know. Yes, have had it for 3 years and before I was pregnant just always took antivirals to prevent an outbreak - and the last two years I’ve probably had 2-3 tiny ones a year and only ever when I was on a break from the valaclovir because I’d run out. I’ve never had one when I’d been taking one a day to surpress it. I don’t take it now I know I’m pregnant but obviously will from 36 weeks. I’m just so worried about going into a normal birth and having doctors and nurses come in and ask/say things in front of my partner like they need to do an inspection for an outbreak or ask if I’ve been taking the antivirals/speak about the fact that they can’t use the scalp monitor/forceps/vacuum to assist delivery if needed because of my Herpes in front of my partner. I just know there’ll be new midwives and doctors that I haven’t met and asked for privacy coming in checking and it really freaks me out. So that didn’t happen to you? Nobody asked you questions relating to it or anything about it in front of your partner? You know what it’s like to have the shame of it become your identity and how embarrassing it is. When I first got it I had to have 2 weeks off work and obvs has to tell my boss why cos it was a really busy and bad time for the company to have me off work. I told her in confidence because I had no choice and when I returned to work everyone in the company knew and were all different to me. It was such hell that after working there for 9 years and being on a high salary and one of the senior people in the company I ended up leaving because of that. I just don’t want that to happen again, I’m traumatised from it still. Thanks for the response again, it’s comforting to see on google that I’m very low risk anyway but it’s nice to hear from someone else that the hospital actually respected your privacy and kept it confidential when you asked.

Also Courtney, just wondering if it was the normal 1 a day dose from 36 weeks (of valaclovir) or more because of the increased blood volume you have in pregnancy?

Also Courtney, did the midwife/hospital judge you for not having told your partner and asking for it to be kept confidential? I’m worried that they will and will be really against it

And did they use the scalp monitor on your bub during labour?

Courtney25 profile image
Courtney25 in reply to Imogen5

Hey how did your labour go? X

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