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Primary Outbreak First Trimester


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Hello all,


I was diagnosed a week and a half ago with HSV2. My husband and I are unsure where it came from but he has yet to have an outbreak that he is aware of. Anyway, we were trying to conceive our second child and a few days before I had signs of my first outbreak. Later that week when I had obvious lesions I went to urgent care, was diagnosed and was on my way feeling better a few days later. The following week after being diagnosed I got a positive pregnancy test. I am freaking out about what I have read about birth defects when getting your first outbreak during your first trimester. My first signs occurred around my ovulation time (I didn't know the tingling and fever were a sign and we continued to have sex) and I feel like the infection was under control around the time of implantation. I am around 4 weeks pregnant now. Does anyone have any info that can ease my mind? I can't imagine being so worried and anxious this whole pregnancy, I LOVED being pregnant with my daughter and we were so excited to try again. I don't understand the timing of this, and I am very scared about the outcome. 


Thank you in advance everyone!



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Hi Katie


Having herpes and progressing your pregnancy is absolutely fine. Herpes is a virus which lives in your nerves and so it cannot get into your blood stream so cannot pass to your baby. 

The issue may arise if you have an outbreak at the time of delivery but with good antiviral management this can be avoided. The worse case scenario is a c section but even that is 'only if' you have an ob.

keep yourself well and healthy so your immune system is in good shape.

Hopefully some mums who have HSV2 and delivered will be here to share tips.

Just think, if HSV was a problem in pregnancy the world population would drop dramatically! 

Take care and congrats again!


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Welcome @katiecometrue and congrats on your pregnancy!! I haven't ever heard of any issues with an OB while getting pregnant. I have had HSV2 for almost 18 years and have healthy 9 and 11 year olds! I happened to have c-sections but only because I had placenta previa with my first (and didn't progress into labor with my second). Otherwise HSV2 would not have prevented me from a vaginal delivery.

As far as timing, the bigger concern (with regards to HSV2 and pregnancy) is when you acquire it at the very end of pregnancy and are unaware of the diagnosis and have a very symptomatic initial OB that corresponds with vaginal delivery. This would be a transmission risk to the newborn and can be quite serious. 

I have not heard anything about HSV and birth defects during conception or anything like that... if you have any sources, please post links so we can help you sort it out. For now just enjoy your pregnancy!

Oh, one other thing... how were you diagnosed? Via swab or did you also have an IgG blood test? If your swab was positive and your IgG was not yet positive then this indicates a new infection. Your husband may have the virus and be asymptomatic. He can have the IgG blood test to check. 

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Thank you both for the support!

@Livelife100 I was diagnosed positive via swab and my blood test came back negative for antibodies. When the nurse practitioner called me she told me I must have very recently (within the past few weeks) been exposed to HSV otherwise my blood would have antibodies already(making me believe it came from my husband). When I went in and saw another a different Nurse Practitioner because I still had more questions, she told me that it didn't necessarily come from a recent exposure and if me and my husband had been monogamous (for almost 8 years, which we have, no thoughts of cheating) I would have been exposed the whole time and same with him, regardless of both of us no having outbreaks. I just don't understand, when do you get antibodies? When being exposed or when you have your first OB? My husband has had zero signs of any OB ever that he knows of. He just got tested this morning so we will what his results are.

The second NP that I saw had not heard of any birth defects that could occur with primary OB in 1st trimester but the first NP I saw said there is a risk and that I should speak to an MD. The second NP stepped out to check with one of her MD colleagues and they said they did not know of anything and to seek advice of a perinatologist to see if I am considered high risk. My appointment isn't until the 22nd with an Ob Gyn which feels like forever. 

Here are some articles that worry me-





Any input appreciated, thank you!

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Try to put things into perspective.

About 20% of babies born this very day are to mothers with genital herpes, most will be natural births. 

Being infected recently does mean the odds of your child being impacted hover near zero instead of being essentially zero. This means herpes is still behind all those other issues that sit in the minds of pending parents.

Your doctors will have plenty of experience with this issue and will be able to advise you of the risks and their minimisation. Follow their advice and we are talking negligible risks here.

Where did this come from? The timing is not unusual for couples where one partner has HSV. Infection chances are very low outside of outbreaks.

The possibility that appears to have the highest chance relates to HSV-1. Does your husband get oral cold sores or had them as a child?  Oral HSV-1 can pass to genitals through oral sex. It is a low chance per episode but does happen.

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@WilsoInAus Thank you for the positive thoughts, I am reading too much info on the internet and my hormones are probably spiking all over the place. As far as he knows he may have had a cold sore but it was a long time and he said he isn't even sure it was one. Could he have transferred it to me recently without any symptoms? I am assuming it was through oral sex, because thats almost all we do.

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The oral sex is then looking like the 'culprit' so to speak. At least 70% of the population has HSV-1 and around half to not get outbreaks and many have no living memory even of an outbreak.

Herpes does shed on the skin, meaning it is present but not causing a sore or even noticeable. Very rarely, there's enough during an oral sex episode and another chance it gets into your skin to latch onto a nerve ending. Many couples go 50 years plus of marriage without transmitting!

Stay focused on baby, and not the internet. Remember that people do not have a habit of dropping into this or any website to write on a whim "Hey guys, I have genital herpes just had a wonderful bouncing baby naturally delivered who is as healthy and beautiful."

Just today, 2,000 babies are born to mothers with genital herpes. Maybe 1-2 in 100,000 will be infected with herpes at birth and most of these are also just fine.


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Hi Katie-

I'm sure your daughter is VERY excited about having a younger brother\sister!

if it's of any consolation I've been positive for over 30 years and started over a year ago to apply 35% food grade hydrogen peroxide directly to outbreaks using a cotton swab and they have not only cleared up faster than any other method I have ever used - but they have also not returned in over 13 months... pesky little sores that had haunted me several times a year for decades.

it's admittedly not the most pleasant of experiences... but the discomfort is very short lived when compared to having to live through a normal ob cycle with normal treatments

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@katiecometrue, was your swab typed for HSV2 or did they just assume that it was HSV2 because of location? As @WilsoInAus mentioned, it is most likely from oral sex and would then be gHSV1. Either way you should be fine! Also to clear up one of your questions, the antibodies start to build once someone is infected (in the majority of the population - it's rare but possible to be positive and not build antibodies), not exposed. My husband (I guess) has been "exposed" to me for 17 years... but he still doesn't have any antibodies nor infection. 

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      Hey @Lcj987 and welcome to the website. You can be sure that isn't HSV-2, looks nothing like it. It is much more likely to be folliculitis or inflamed fordyce spots.
    • WilsoInAus
      Hey @JackThrowAway herpes causes an outbreak where it enters the body first and maybe a progressive spread. If it doesn't cause an outbreak at the entry site then it won't cause one elsewhere, it also won't 'jump' upon infection - it would be more likely that the lesions are continuous from the penis to the anus. Nevertheless, testing trumps symptoms or any interpretation of symptoms. The correct conclusive result arises when: you have a positive swab; or An IgG HSV-2 level over 3.5 (Herpeselect test).
    • Lcj987
      Slept with someone unprotected, roughly 2 weeks ago now. I felt generally unwell the couple of days after but I’d been drinking the whole weekend and didn’t have much sleep either of the days of that weekend so put it down to that. 6 days after I noticed these spots appear on the shaft of my penis. Along with symptoms of discomfort in my shaft in the couple of days prior to them appearing. No pain when urinating at all that I have noticed. They don’t hurt, itch or tingle and they don’t have fluid in from what I can see or feel if I squeeze them and have never burst? I went to a sexual health clinic to get checked up, they took bloods to do a full test and looked at the spots but said they saw nothing that concerned them but I’m not sure about that, any advice? The smaller spots under the shaft are just follicles I had diagnosed years ago and non-sti related.
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