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Genital Herpes in Pregnancy: Visitations to be Continued

Painful menstruation is not enough. Toxicosis burning and turning stomach inside out during pregnancy is too little. Beastly cramps while delivering a baby seem for somebody the only mild punishment for a piece of the well-known apple. Have some more! Here is a bunch of different sexually transmitted diseases. Genital Herpes (GH) is one of them.

Men get infected less often than women. Sociologists confirm that it is because men have usually more sexual partners and change women like gloves; thus, transmitting GH from one woman to another. Here we are: they enjoy Ė we suffer. Who ever said anything about equal rights and no women discrimination?

So, weaker sex, get stronger! Prepare for the fight against GH, especially, if you are mother-to-be or considering becoming pregnant.

Nowadays estimated 25% of pregnant American women have GH; therefore they are faced with a risk of transmitting the virus to their babies. This can happen in three ways: across the placenta while baby is in uterus (5% of all cases of neonatal herpes); during delivery (90%); and after birth due to the close skin-to-skin contact with infected people (5-8%).

Both types of herpes simplex virus (HSV) can be transmitted to a baby. HSV1 targets a child more easily, but the consequences are limited to the rush on the skin, mouth, eyes and mucous membranes diseases. The risk of achieving HSV2 is a little bit lower, though the results can be devastating: it hurts the central nervous system causing seizures, meningitis, developmental delay, and death.

It all sounds terrifying, though it is far from being apocalyptical. In many cases the risk of transmitting HSV is miniscule. For example, if a woman has a long-standing herpes infection, she inevitably has antibodies, which will be carried to the child with her blood, creating a natural protection against the virus. Even if a person acquires an infection during the first two trimesters of pregnancy, there is enough time for the antibodies to be produced and protect the baby.

The real threat occurs if HSV enters motherís body during the last trimester or if she has an active outbreak of the disease during a labor. Prematurely born children, whose immune system is weakened and they have not got the full set of antibodies are also in great danger. In these cases caesarean section must be done.

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Nothing stands still, neither medicine does. It is obvious that caesarean section is not the only panacea in all situations. Scientists developed several antiviral medications to treat primary and recurrent outbreaks of herpes in pregnant women (mainly during the first two trimesters). They are acyclovir, famciclovir (Famvir), and valacyclovir (Valtrex).

The last but not the least point is that a woman must always honestly and timely inform a doctor about the history of herpes in herself or in her partner, as well as about any suspicion of experiencing the disease, because tests to disclose HSV are not simple and take some time.

Therefore, fair sex, you must be not only strong, but wise as well not to risk the health of your children in vain. All the destiny strikes and visitations harden us and help overwhelm everything.


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