During the gestation period, the immunity of the expectant mother is weakened, which may be associated, in turn, with an increased risk of exacerbation of chronic diseases in a woman or the acquisition of various infections by her. Among the unpleasant diseases that can become active during pregnancy is herpes, the carriers of the virus of which today are almost 90% of the inhabitants of the planet.
How dangerous is herpes during pregnancy, what are the symptoms of pathology and how is its treatment carried out in women who are on the eve of motherhood — this article will tell.
Herpes during pregnancy: causes and symptoms of the disease
The most common form of herpes that occurs in pregnant women is simple, or common herpes. This disease is usually classified into two varieties:
- Labial herpes. The main symptom of the disease is specific bubble rashes, which can be localized on the face, neck, lips, ears, in the eye area, nasal mucosa or oral cavity.
- Genital herpes. It is characterized by the appearance of a herpetic rash on the mucous membrane of the genital organs (vulva, vagina, urethra, etc.) and has a particularly unfavorable prognosis regarding the course and outcome of pregnancy.
The appearance of a herpetic rash is often preceded by/accompanied by symptoms such as headache, general malaise, muscle aches, fever, discomfort, itching or burning in the affected area. Over time, herpetic vesicles open and ulcers form in their place, the healing of which takes place over 2-4 weeks.
Herpes simplex can be transmitted by airborne, sexual and contact routes. The cause of infection may also be transfusion of infected blood or organ transplantation from a virus carrier. If the herpes virus is present in the body of a pregnant woman, the possibility of its transmission to the child through the placenta or at the time of the fetus passing through the birth canal is not excluded.
Having penetrated into the human body, the herpes virus may not declare itself for years with any symptoms, while waiting for conditions conducive to its activation. Exacerbation of herpes during pregnancy is most often provoked by a decrease in the immunity of the expectant mother, infectious diseases suffered by a woman, hypothermia, fatigue and stressful situations.
What is the danger of herpes during pregnancy?
If the expectant mother contracted herpes before conception, the prognosis of pregnancy is quite favorable. The fetus is protected by antibodies to the virus acting in the mother’s body, so the probability of infection of the child does not exceed five percent. If the acquisition of herpes occurred during pregnancy, the risk of transmission of the virus from mother to fetus increases to 70-90%.
Infection of a woman with herpes before pregnancy or during gestation does not always entail irreversible consequences that are dangerous for the health of the mother and child. Nevertheless, the disease requires mandatory and timely treatment, carried out under strict and systematic medical supervision. Otherwise, herpes during pregnancy can provoke miscarriage or premature birth, cause disorders of intrauterine development of the fetus or severe damage to the body of the pregnant woman herself.
Herpes: treatment during pregnancy
To date, medicine does not have the means that have the ability to destroy the herpes virus in the human body. However, there is a wide range of drugs, the use of which can reduce the severity of pathological symptoms, speed up the recovery process and minimize the risk of relapses of the disease.
If a pregnant woman is diagnosed with herpes, the treatment of pathology, first of all, is aimed at suppressing the activity of the virus and increasing the immunity of the expectant mother. Treatment of the labial form of herpes infection is within the competence of a general practitioner; with genital herpes, a pregnant woman will need to visit a urologist, an infectious disease specialist, and / or an immunologist.
Therapy of herpes in pregnant women is carried out through the use of special antiviral agents (mainly in the form of ointments and gels), safe for the health of mother and child. Additionally, the patient may be recommended to take general strengthening multivitamin complexes, as well as interferon preparations in the form of rectal candles or nasal drops. In the presence of objective medical indications, a complex of therapeutic measures may include treatment with immunoglobulins.
Important! If symptoms that resemble signs of a herpetic infection occur, it is recommended that a pregnant woman immediately contact a medical institution to identify or exclude a viral disease. In case of confirmation of the diagnosis of “herpes”, the treatment of the disease should be carried out exclusively with those drugs that were prescribed by a doctor, and with exact observance of the dosages prescribed by a specialist. Neglect of anxiety symptoms, as well as any self-medication measures, is associated with a high risk of pregnancy complications.
Herpes prevention: home activities
To minimize the risk of infection with herpes or prevent relapses of the disease during pregnancy, a woman will be helped by the implementation of a number of measures aimed at strengthening the body’s defenses:
- organization of rational and balanced nutrition;
- dosed physical activity, systematic stay in the fresh air;
- normalization of the daily routine; provision of conditions for proper rest;
- prevention of colds and infectious diseases;
- rejection of bad habits, prevention of stressful situations;
- compliance with hygiene standards, the maximum possible exclusion of contacts with carriers of the herpes virus;
- implementation of hardening procedures, reception of general strengthening vitamin and mineral complexes (subject to mandatory prior approval with the attending physician).
An important guarantee of a successful pregnancy is the passage of a woman’s examination for herpes at the stage of maternity planning. If a herpetic infection is detected, the doctor will prescribe effective treatment to the patient, which will allow deactivating the virus for a long time and thereby avoid the occurrence of relapses of the disease during pregnancy.