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Do cold sores affect unborn baby? Can the virus pass to baby via the placenta?

Mar 2016
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Answered by

Practicing since : 2011
Answered : 4047 Questions
Hi there it wonder if you can help me please. I am 33weeks pregnant with my first child and over the past few weeks I have had some cold sore worries. Basically I have been worried as first my father had a cold sore and then my mother has recently had two cold sores. I have been worried because I have never ever had coldsores. My main worry is that I may have caught the hsv1 virus from them and because it's been an initial outbreak I have had possibly none to little symptoms. I have read that primary infection may cause no symptoms. My main concern is how does this affect my unborn baby? Can the virus pass to him via the placenta? And is he at risk of congenital herpes or neonatal herpes? If you can advise me I would be grateful. Many thanks, XXXX
Posted Fri, 14 Mar 2014 in Pregnancy
Answered by Dr. S Patra 19 hours later
Brief Answer: DETAILS ARE GIVEN BELOW. Detailed Answer: Hello, Thanks for writing to us. Followings are my comments: 1) Cold sores are basically caused by Herpes Simplex Virus. HSV1 is more common in comparison to HSV2 for causing cold sore. If you get the infection recently for the first time, then chance of transmission to fetus is highest through placenta in the third trimester and there will be no protection for the baby due to absence of circulating antibody. 2) Neonatal herpes is a remarkably RARE event but it can be transmitted during delivery of your baby. Therefore, special cares are needed to be taken by your OBSTETRICIAN or BIRTH attendant at that time. In this circumstance, you must consult with your Obstetrician to manage the infection and minimize the risk to your baby. Drug treatment like Aciclovir and Paracetamol can be taken safely. Kindly, procure a complete prescription from your doctor after clinical examination. Hope, I have answered your query. Kindly, close the discussion if you don't have any other query. Wish your good health and successful motherhood. Regards, Dr Soumen For future query, you can directly approach me through WWW.WWWW.WW
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Follow-up: Do cold sores affect unborn baby? Can the virus pass to baby via the placenta? 2 hours later
Hi there, Many thanks for your reply. Can I clairify with you on how HSV1 cold sores are caused please? I did not kiss my parents when they had active cold sores and only saw them both 2 days before each of them developed a cold sore. I did again see my mum a week later but did not kiss her. Also how would I know if I have contracted the virus myself? Would I have any symptoms as a primary infection of HSv1 and how would i know if it had passed through the placenta and would this cause Neonatal herpes? Many Thanks,
Answered by Dr. S Patra 14 hours later
Brief Answer: DETAILS ARE GIVEN BELOW. Detailed Answer: Hello, Thanks for follow up query. 1) Cold sore or Oral Herpes occurs when HSV comes into contact with oral mucosal tissue or abraded skin of the mouth. Skin to skin contact during oral, vaginal and anal sex is the mode of transmission for HSV infection. If you had involved in sexual activity during pregnancy period, you can get the infection from partner side. Latent or dormant stage (without actual symptom for first 2 to 3 days) also plays important role to spread infection or cause cold sore besides active lesion. 2) Most patients are present with some symptoms like fever, dehydration, local skin itching or crack, redness, upper respiratory infection (initially), small blister, conjunctivitis etc. Very few remains asymptomatic. In that case, blood test for HSV is more crucial to confirm the diagnosis. 3) Symptomatic pregnant women with cold sore or oral herpes has high chance of transmission of HSV infection through placenta during 3rd trimester. However, Neonatal Herpes is remarkably RARE event if proper care is taken during delivery of the baby. Blood test is enough to rule out maternal HSV1 infection. Hope, I have answered your queries. Kindly, close the discussion. All the best and good luck. Regards, Dr Soumen
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