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Herpes

What herpes simplex virus (HSV) is
There are 2 kinds of herpes:

  • One kind of herpes causes blisters mostly on the lips, mouth and face. This is called Type 1 (HSV-1).
  • Another kind of herpes causes blisters mostly on the genitals.
    This is called Type 2 (HSV-2).

How you can get herpes
You can get Type 1 herpes when an infected person coughs or sneezes near you. You can get Type 2 herpes by having sex with an infected person.

How herpes can harm your baby
A mother who has Type 2 herpes can give it to her baby at birth, as the baby passes through the mother's birth canal.

Babies who are born with herpes can have problems with:

  • Hearing
  • Eyes
  • Skin
  • Lungs
  • Liver
  • Brain

How to protect you and your baby against herpes
If you have herpes, ask your doctor if you should have a C-section.
A C-section is an operation where the doctor takes the baby out of your uterus through your belly. That way, the baby does not pass through your birth canal.

Getting a C-section could lower the chances that your baby will get herpes.

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National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders

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