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Home Ask the Experts Ask the Experts Did herpes cause my miscarriage?

Did herpes cause my miscarriage?

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I had a miscarriage in May of last year. The doctor says my herpes infection caused the miscarriage. He advised me not to get pregnant while the virus is active and informed me there is no cure and suggested I take vitamins. Both blood tests I’ve taken have confirmed I have HSV-2, but now that it has been a year I’m wondering if it is okay to try to conceive again. I’ve never had any physical signs or symptoms of herpes so I don’t know how to gauge whether it’s active or not. Please help.

We are sorry to hear about your miscarriage and hope the information in our response is beneficial. First let us make sure you are clear on how herpes is transmitted. Sexual fluids (semen and vaginal secretions) do not transmit HSV, and herpes does not affect conception of a child. Herpes is transmitted through direct skin-to-skin contact. Transmission may occur when a contagious area comes in contact with abraded skin or a mucous membrane area (vagina, penis, anus). Not having sexual activity during an outbreak is advisable for risk reduction to a sexual partner, but it has no bearing on the fetus/baby. Other than abstaining during an outbreak there is no need to wait any period of time to try to become pregnant.

There is no evidence at all that herpes causes miscarriages. The highest risk for herpes and pregnancy is when a woman contracts the virus for the very first time during the third trimester. In this situation (true primary outbreak), the mother does not have antibodies built up to the virus. Severe symptoms are likely to occur such as painful lesions, aches and pains around the genital region, flu-like symptoms, and possibly painful urination or a vaginal discharge. The risk is highest because neither the mother nor fetus has a defense system to the virus. However, rest assured it is rare for complications to arise during pregnancy due to herpes. It is estimated one out of four women giving birth has herpes yet less than 0.1% of babies actually contract the virus. It is rare for herpes to affect pregnancy in any way.


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