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Does Herpes cause birth defects or down syndrome?


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Hello all,  I just saw this program on TV where there was a child who had down syndrome, and cerebral palsy. They were blaming the father because he had Herpes.  I am now freaking out because I would like to have kids in a near future,  but I wasn't aware how herpes can affect a baby's development.  It is depressing knowing that can happen to anyone.  As some of you know I  have Gsvh1.  Is there any truth to this? Any input on this I'd gladly appreciate it.  Thank you very much. 

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This is all the ASHA says about herpes and pregnancy: 


Neonatal herpes can be very bad for babies (birth defects, death) but it is also very rare, especially since you will not have a new infection at the time you are giving birth. If you (or your baby's mother if you are male--not sure if you are male or female) have an outbreak at the time of delivery, you may not be able to deliver vaginally. Lots of people have perfectly healthy babies. 

I'm not sure if the TV show makes any sense though. I believe the mother would have had to have had it for it to affect the child. 

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I am not a doctor, but I don't think there is any relation at all.  I think down syndrome is a genetic developmental issue, not nervous system.  How many people have herpes?  Millions and that would mean tons of children would have down syndrome.  Herpes is basically a virus that produces blisters.  Like november said, if that were the case, it would be very rare.

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Are you kidding me, they made the father feel bad for having herpes? WOW....What Morons...

There is no relation at all between Herpes and any mental illness or mental disability, why would there be? Its a skin condition that doesn't affect the Brain UNLESS you get Herpetic Encephalitis, but even then... it wouldnt affect the same areas.

The ignorance of some people is absolutely unreal.

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The ASHA website does say this: "Neonatal herpes can cause an overwhelming infection resulting in lasting damage to the central nervous system, mental retardation, or death." So there is a chance of herpes causing a mental disability. But again, neonatal herpes is very rare. And the baby is most at risk if you catch herpes towards the end of the pregnancy (and are the mother). The fact that you have herpes now and will have antibodies is good. See the following:

"While neonatal herpes is a serious condition, it is also very rare. Less than 0.1% of babies born in the United States each year get neonatal herpes. . . Babies are most at risk for neonatal herpes if the mother contracts genital herpes late in pregnancy. This is because a newly infected mother does not have antibodies against the virus, so there is no natural protection for the baby during birth. In addition, a new herpes infection is frequently active, so there is an increased possibility the virus will be present in the birth canal during delivery."

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Thank you all for your replies.  I am a male going into my 9th month of Gsvh1.  I can't believe how big the  ignorance is on this virus.  Thank you for the info, it makes a lot of sense the fact that a lot of people do carry the virus and don't have kids with down syndrome. 

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I know hsv does not cause Down syndrome.  That's a genetic/chromosomal, from the moment of sperm and egg recombine condition.

i do think that it is an energetic/resource burden on the organism and if one is young enough and going through so many critical periods in development then I do think it affects everything downstream of that.  To what degree depends on a slew of other factors.

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Quick answer - no. These conditions are genetic.


On that note, vaccines do not cause down syndrome either. Ignore the celebrities who claim that it does.


The poor father was just an easy scapegoat in this case.

Edited by Mellisuga
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  • 2 weeks later...

Oh my goodness…. I've never heard of this before.

I have genital herpes and have two gorgeous, healthy boys - both delivered vaginally….. 

The other posters have given good advice above so please, don't let this (incorrect) bit of information put you off.

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