Having a Baby When You Have Genital Herpes

Getting that positive on the pregnancy test made my heart beat. I was thrilled that my husband and I had decided to have a baby and that it was happening so fast! My husband has genital herpes, and we were always careful and used latex condoms.

With STD’s, condoms will mostly protect you, however, with Genital Herpes, you can get the STD with a condom. Without the symptoms and skin sores, there is still a risk of infecting your partner since your skin touches.

I was okay with that risk. I researched what I was getting into and compared it to moving to the next step in our life since we couldn’t afford invitro, I decided to risk getting it. I did, but I also got so much more. I got pregnant!

We started doing everything, from seeing the doctor, painting the nursery, and even picking out a stroller when we had found out!

Pregnancy Troubles

There were three key issues my doctor discussed with me about my pregnancy because I did have genital herpes and it could cause complications with my pregnancy.

He warned me about a premature delivery, where my baby would arrive earlier than desired, but with the care for newborns in hospitals, there was no cause for concern on the health of the baby.

He also wanted to prepare me for a miscarriage, which could happen, due to complications from herpes. I didn’t know this was a risk factor that was higher in women who did have the genital herpes infection. I really didn’t like hearing about this risk factor.

Lastly, he wanted me to understand that by giving vaginal birth, I could spread the infection to my baby even without a breakout. I didn’t have to have a breakout, just the disease being present in the birth canal was enough to give it to my baby. Even though it is rare, I was also informed that there was a small risk that my body could transfer it to the baby through the womb.

Birthing Options

While there are two options to giving birth for everyone, the way mine were laid out were a bit different because of my herpes infection. We all have a chance of getting a form of herpes, such as cold sores and then kissing our loved ones, thus transferring oral herpes. However, that’s a chance of getting it, rather than forcing it upon my child.

Vaginal Birth

Giving vaginal birth would give my baby a risk if I had an active herpes outbreak or my amniotic fluid sac broke before the baby was delivered, but this rarely happened so much so that my doctor brushed it off.

Many women with genital herpes can vaginally deliver their babies without infecting them. If you do have an outbreak during the last six weeks of your pregnancy, your doctor will recommend a C-section.


A Caesarean section, or C-section, is a safer option to choose if I wanted to remove nearly all the risk factors. I would still have to worry about the amniotic fluid sac rupturing before the baby is out, but otherwise no more risks.

A C-section would leave me in more pain, with a scar, and could cause infertility for future births. These were all the disclaimers they had to tell me about before choosing an option.

My Choice versus Other Mothers

Some parents look at me crazy and stupefied when I say I vaginally delivered. I did. I’m not ashamed, and I certainly don’t think any mother should tell me how I should deliver my child when a doctor has informed me that it was all right.

I chose vaginal birth, one because I wanted to experience giving birth to my baby, and two, because it was safe. I did not have an outbreak, and my child had minimal risks because I was treating my herpes correctly and following my doctor’s orders.

I chose vaginal because infertility scared me. We wanted to have more children, and I couldn’t imagine not being able to have more children with my husband. When I get pregnant again, I would probably do everything the same way if it all went well.

My Sweet Child

My child doesn’t have herpes, I took care of myself and followed the doctor’s orders to completely lower my risk for a breakout and for my baby to be infected. You can give vaginal birth safely and with minimal risk to your baby, and there is nothing wrong with that. I don’t regret my choice and you shouldn’t either.

Do you have herpes? If you do, would you deliver vaginally or C-section? How do you feel about mothers’ criticizing your choices?

About Author

ShirleyShirley is the proud mother of two beautiful children. She has been writing informational blog posts for parents for a few years now and hopes she can help with your questions and concerns with parenting. You can visit her blog or follow on twitter @shirley_ttsblog

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