Neonatal herpes, although rare, infects 1500 babies in the United States each year. Caused by the HSV-1 or HSV-2 infection, it disables and kills infants.
One of the ways women can prevent neonatal herpes is by practicing safe sex and having STD testing done to alert them to any potential problems with their pregnancies.
Here’s what you should know about neonatal herpes and prevention methods.
The Basics on Neonatal Herpes
Types of Neonatal Herpes
There are three types of neonatal herpes, Disseminated Disease, Central Nervous System Disease, and SEM Disease.
Disseminated Disease offers the greatest risks as it affects multiple organs and shows up around 10-12 days of life. Symptoms include sepsis, liver failure, respiratory failure, and disseminated intravascular coagulation or blood clots that develop throughout the baby’s body.
Effects & Transmission of Neonatal Herpes
Neonatal herpes causes intellectual disabilities, paralysis of one or more limbs, eye problems, delayed speech, behavior problems, and learning disabilities. Regular STD testing prevents the spread of the disease to infants. Doctors recommend that women infected with neonatal herpes bottle feed opposed to breast feed because lesions on the breast can transmit the disease from mother to child.
Prevention of Neonatal Herpes
STD testing is the best line of defense because it alerts women who are pregnant or wanting to become pregnant about the dangers of the disease on their children. By taking charge of their sexual health and having a test administered, they reduce the risk of neonatal herpes from being passed onto their child.
Neonatal herpes is potentially dangerous. STD testing helps determine whether a mother has the sexually transmitted disease and gives doctors a course of action for their patients to follow while pregnant. In addition to delivering a baby via C-Section, it may be advisable to use suppressive therapy to keep women from experiencing an outbreak near their delivery date.