November 8, 2015 at 11:20 am #10522pregnantwithherpesParticipant
Dear Teri Warren,
I’ve been with my partner for a year and a half. He gets cold sores, and a few months into our relationship, I started getting them too. No big deal, we’re going to be together forever, so I’d have gotten them eventually.
I’m newly pregnant, and my OB doctor asked if I wanted to do STD testing. I said yes to all testing, and it all came back negative. At first I was happy, but then I got confused about the negative HSV-1 results.
I did some google searches that scared me. Apparently some newborn babies get herpes (either strain) and die! But babies are protected for a few months from getting an infection from their mother’s antibodies. However, will my baby even have antibodies? I had herpes for over year when I got pregnant, but don’t show any antibodies. What if I drool on my baby while nursing? (My friend used to laugh about falling asleep and drooling on her baby while the baby was nursing.) What if my partner kisses the baby and the baby gets herpes? I’m scared now!
My OB said the only other herpes test is a culture, so I got one done on a new sore (I get them a lot,) and it was negative. So I made my partner get tested, which he only consented to because I was pregnant and upset. His HSV1 number was over 10, no hsv-2. I’m so confused and scared for my baby.
Do you know if my baby will get antibodies even if they’re not showing up on my blood tests? (I got a new test just a day ago, and it was also negative.) I understand that an older baby, toddler or kid can get HSV-1, and that is normal. But a newborn baby’s health is seriously at risk when if the baby gets herpes. I am freaking out and constantly crying about this. I did read that newborn getting herpes is rare… but from reading it is apparently also somewhat rare not to develop antibodies. Could these babies getting herpes be from the mothers who aren’t making antibodies? Is my baby doomed? I am sad enough about having a child that I will never be able to kiss. I’m so scared.
November 9, 2015 at 2:01 pm #10536Terri WarrenKeymaster
First, I’m wondering if what you get is actually HSV 1. Can you describe what your cold sores look like?
The second possibility is that the test is missing your infection. It turns out that the screening test for HSV 1 misses about 1 out of 4 infections – pretty lousy test. So it isn’t you, it’s the test, if you truly are infected. You baby will get antibody from you and transmission is very unlikely. You nor your partner should kiss the baby when you have a cold sore (nor should anyone else). But you can certainly kiss your baby at other times! Over half the population has HSV 1 and there are very few babies who get herpes, so that should reassure you!
I think you might also consider taking daily antiviral therapy after the baby is born so you won’t worry so much about this, what do you think?
November 9, 2015 at 7:27 pm #10553pregnantwithherpesParticipant
I completely agree about taking an antiviral after the baby is born. I actually tried one (Acylavir?)for awhile, and I didn’t think it made much difference. I seem to get a cold sore about mid-month and again right before my period. I’ve gotten a couple too since pregnant, but I don’t notice a pattern. They are roundish and burning. They have a head for a few days, but then scab over. Altogether, they last about a week. I get them a lot, but only on a couple different spots. I can feel them coming, and I think they go away faster because I treat early. My first one, I didn’t treat and it was there for 3 weeks.
I am relieved to hear that 1 in 4 people are missed by the blood test. I was thinking that I was a rare case, but this doesn’t seem rare at all now. I’m glad to hear my baby will still be protected. Do you have any idea how long this protection will last? If I nurse my baby will it make a difference?
November 9, 2015 at 7:59 pm #10554Terri WarrenKeymaster
The baby will have your antibody for 2-6 months most often, but don’t be mistaken that it offers the baby complete protection as it does not. I would very strongly encourage you to get these things you believe are cold sores swab tested to determine if they are herpes or not. They are recurring very frequently for herpes virus.
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