Neonatal herpes is a form of herpes that occurs in a young baby; the younger the child is, the more difficulties they may face as a result of the virus [1].

A newborn can catch herpes in four ways[2] :

  • During birth if the mother has contracted genital herpes for the first time in the 6 weeks before giving birth
  • If someone with a cold sore kisses the child
  • If a breastfeeding mother has a blister on her breast caused by herpes
  • Hereditary

Though the idea of herpes in a newborn child can be quite worrying, it’s important to note that it’s very rare. In fact, The American Sexual Health Association notes that less than 0.1% of babies born each year in the United States contract neonatal herpes; meaning that the majority of women with genital herpes give birth to healthy and happy babies [3].

See also: How Do STDs Affect Pregnancy?


Can you prevent neonatal herpes?


85% of neonatal herpes cases are contracted during birth making it so important to take simple steps during pregnancy to avoid any potential complications, these include[4] :

  • Informing your doctor if you have a history of herpes
  • Regularly screening your sexual health

Cases are also known to occur when a baby comes in contact with an adult carrying the virus. If you develop a cold sore or if you suspect you may have herpes, you should:

  • Avoid kissing babies
  • Wash your hands before coming in contact with a baby
  • Wash your hands before breastfeeding

One of the best ways to know if you have contracted herpes, or any other sexually transmitted infection, is with an STI test - this can be done with your local doctor or from the comfort of your own home with an at-home lab test.

LetsGetChecked’s range of STI Tests detect some of the most common infections, with online results in just 5 days. Your sample will be sent to the same lab used by doctors and hospitals and our dedicated team of nurses will be on hand should you have any questions regarding your results or any other step of the process.

See also: What Is Herpes? How To Deal With A Herpes Diagnosis



References

  1. NHS. Neonatal herpes (herpes in a baby). Online: NHS.uk, 2018
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Disseminated Neonatal Herpes Caused by Herpes Simplex Virus Types 1 and 2. Online: Cdc.gov, 2007
  3. American Sexual Health Association. Herpes & Pregnancy. Online: Ashasexualhealth.org
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Disseminated Neonatal Herpes Caused by Herpes Simplex Virus Types 1 and 2. Online: Cdc.gov, 2007