1. Any time you experience some new or unusual physical condition, whether you are pregnant or not, it is important to have a doctor or another medical practitioner check it out. Your symptoms may indicate genital herpes or another condition that should be treated. Let your practitioner know that you have had genital herpes outbreaks before. Genital herpes is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the herpes simplex virus. Between 20 and 25 percent of pregnant women have genital herpes. Women who have outbreaks in the third trimester or at birth risk transmitting the virus to their babies, for whom the infection could be life threatening. A cesarean is the only way these women can safely deliver their babies. If you have a genital herpes lesion, it will not cause any problem as long as it heals within the next couple of weeks. Your doctor or midwife should discuss treatment options with you. Some antiviral drugs are considered safe to use in pregnancy, and new information about such drugs is becoming available all the time.

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Ask Tori RN®, by registered nurse and resident author of The Joy of Pregnancy, is a helpful and reassuring resource for parents-to-be.