Will having a C-Section keep my baby safe from herpes?

Dear Dr. Amy:

I am truly terrified and concerned. In three months I will be having my first child. I have been having herpes for almost 5 years.I very seldom have an outbreak. I have never told my ob/gyn nor my husband about the disease. I am scheduled for c-section. Does this eliminate my child from contacting the disease. If not, how do I mention this to my doctor. More importantly, how can I tell my husband. I am so very tired of keeping this secret. From what I have read Zovirax can’t be taken during pregnancy. Is there anything that I should be taking, and what are the chances of having a healthy child? Truly Terrified

Dr. Amy’s Response:

Dear Truly Terrified,

Congratulations on your pregnancy. You are entering into one of life’s most incredible experiences. Keeping the secret of herpes, as you noted, is adding tremendous fears and concerns for you right now. These emotions are taking away from the joy and pleasure of the birth of your child. It is draining you emotionally. The sharing of your secret about herpes will be difficult, but it also will free you emotionally and cognitively to focus on the positive aspects of childbirth.

You and your husband will be facing many additional decisions and problems together as you enter into parenthood. Keeping information from one another does not allow you the benefit of having two adults to make decisions and choices which is a major function of being a parent. This is a joint venture, a union, a partnership.

It is essential that you tell your doctor about your history of herpes. He/she can answer the specific medical questions you have asked. You are certainly not the only patient who has herpes. You might also want to elicit your physician’s help in breaking the news to your husband. Discuss this with your doctor.

I have received many letters from mothers who have herpes and have delivered healthy children. Your doctor needs to be informed so that you and your baby can receive the medical attention that is necessary. I hope the best for you, your husband, and your baby as you embark on building your family.


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