Herpes and a Scheduled C-Section?? Please Read!! — The Bump
3rd Trimester

Herpes and a Scheduled C-Section?? Please Read!!

Ok first of all this is not MUD!! I know this is my first post but I am actually a regular poster and just created this new account bc I am a little too embarrassed to talk about the fact that I have genital herpes under my usual name.

With that said, I realize this might be a little bit flame worthy. I just really need some help and advice.

I have genital herpes and contracted it 8 years ago from an ex boyfriend. I've only had one outbreak...the initial one and haven't had any since. My husband of course knows I have it and we told my doctor everything also of course. He immediately suggested that I get on Valtrex for the last month of my pregnancy just to avoid an outbreak.

Well I've been having some discomfort and weird stabbing pains down there since Monday and finally today I felt that I'd had enough and called my doctor. I told the nurse what I was feeling and that I was scared that I might be having an outbreak.  She said she would get with the doctor and call me about coming in to get checked and possibly going ahead and getting on Valtrex now instead of waiting.

So I'm still waiting to hear back from them. In the meantime I've been doing a little bit of research on Valtrex and come to find out they don't know if it's 100% safe to take while you're pregnant!! The Valtrex website says that nursing mothers shouldn't take Valtrex bc it could be harmful to your baby and that pregnant women should talk to their healthcare provider about the risks involved in taking Valtrex while pregnant.

So now I'm completely worried about taking it at all. I know that there are plenty of women out there that have probably taken it and their babies have been born completely healthy. But even then I would still worry since it's not technically proven that it's safe! I also know that the risks involved in giving birth nautrally if I had an outbreak are horrible too and that the virus can cause blindness and deafness in babies along with other things!

So my question is...what would you do? I feel like I want to talk to my doctor and tell him I don't feel comfortable taking a medication that is not proven to be safe for pregnant women and that I'd like to have a scheduled c-section. I am NOT one of those women that is afraid of natural labor and I actually prefer to have natural labor over a c-section any day. I am just trying to weigh the pros and cons here and I feel like a c-section would avoid me having to take a medication I'm not comfortable taking and also would avoid the risk of infecting the baby with herpes if I just so happen to have an outbreak during labor.

HELP PLEASE!! I am 32 weeks right now and am sort of in a panic about what the right decision is.

 

Re: Herpes and a Scheduled C-Section?? Please Read!!

  • Sorry for your situation.  I think your concerns about a vaginal delivery are valid.  Have you read anything online about other women in the same situation?  I think you should definitely mention it to your OB (about you wanting the c-sec). 

     

    As for the valtrex, I'm not an expert or anything....but you are already well into the 3rd trimester, and typically drugs are most dangerous in early pregnancies when the fetuses are still developing, forming limbs, etc.  miscarriages are more likely in the first trimester.  I think that it's definitely important that you take your anti-virals  ESPECIALLY if you'll have a vaginal delivery.  However, maybe if you are able to get the c-section, it may not be as important...but you definitely need to check with the doc and make sure that there is no danger in you NOT taking the meds.  They may still require you to take them.

     Obviously none of us are medical experts, so all I can tell you is my opinion on what I would do/think if I were in your situation.  

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  • My midwife has written me prescriptions for Valtrex for cold sores during both of my pregnancies.  My research told me that it is a class B drug, and my midwife agreed that it is safe to take during pregnancy.  I only had to take it a couple of times and my baby girl is completely healthy.  IMO, I would trust my Dr.'s advice on the safety of the drug over the risks of a scheduled c-section.  You are not the only pregnant woman with herpes and they deal with it all the time.  Ask your Dr. what he/she would do if you had an outbreak during labor.  I think I've heard that they put you on a preventative dose of Valtrex leading up to labor anyway.  Good luck!
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  • I think the risk of Valtrex is less than risks associated with C-sections. My m/w gave me Valtrex in the 1st tri for a cold sore and she's very conservative with medication. 
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  • Valtrex is commonly used in the last trimester of pregnancy and has not been proven harmful at all. I have a very granola doula/Bradley instructor and she is all for it because it can help you avoid a c-section. The risks related to c-section are far greater than those related to taking Valtrex.

     

    I haven't had an outbreak in years, but I'll be getting a prescription at my appointment on Monday, just in case. Pregnancy can affect your immune system, so even if you haven't had an outbreak, you might get one with a lowered immune system.  FWIW, I got mine while in a 6 year relationship that I thought was monogamous, until it wasn't... so having herpes is not a flammable offense at all. It happens. 

     

    ETA: Here is a blog post from our local doula association:

    http://www.getbabied.com/2011-05-22/valtrex-and-pregnancy 

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  • I have a prescription for it as well since I too have Herpes.  I got it from an ex years ago but was just diagnosed a few years ago.  I havent had an outbreak in quite a while, but of course my DH and my dr know. I used to take it daily as a preventative, but once I got my BFP, my dr had me stop and he said that I didn't have to take it unless I was having an outbreak and then it was safe.  Also, he did say something before about starting it again as a preventative measure during the last 8 weeks of pregnancy and that it is perfectly safe for me and the baby.  I asked him all about this when I was first diagnosed and again when I found out I was pregnant and he stressed both times, that unless I am in the middle of an outbreak when I go into labor, there is no risk to the baby and I can have a vaginal delivery.  If I am, then we would do a c-section,

    I know how hard it is to have this diagnosis and how embarassing it can be.  My DH is the only person who knows I have this, and honestly most of the time I forget I even have it.  Talk to your Dr and your DH about this and your fears/concerns.  My dr told me that there is no reason having this should change my birth experience and to try not and let it ruin my pregnancy experience.

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  • Don't worry at all about the warning. There are virtually no drugs approved for use by the FDA during pregnancy, because in order to get the indication/approval, they'd have to perform extensive clinical trials on pregnant women. Who the heck is going to volunteer for that trial? Plus, with the threat of lawsuits in this sue-happy country, they are just covering their arses.

    All we can do is rely on what our Dr.s tell us based on using these drugs "off-label". Valtrex is Category B and has a proven history of being safe. They just can't say that on the PI because they haven't proven it via clinical trial. Which will never happen.

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  • A LOT of meds say that. Typically it just means they haven't tested it. And if the meds say to talk to your doctor before taking it, well you have done that, so what's the problem? I would take it if my OB recommended it. 

    I hope everything works out for the best. Good luck! 

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  • First of all, let me say there's nothing to be embarrassed about having genital Herpes. Like you, mine is a gift from an ex boyfriend and you know what, sh*t happens.

    I am also on Valtrex and my doc is also very cautious about over medicating. To also make me feel better, she did a pap smear to check for anything since I was so worried that came clean and definitely feels that the antibiotics won't harm the baby, especially this late in the pregnancy. I am to stop taking them second baby's here

  • Valtrex is perfectly safe while you are pregnant. You should have started supression therapy a couple weeks ago but there is no reason you can't start it now. Your outbreak will be gone by the time you get around to delivering and there is no reason that you can't have a vaginal birth. If you are having an outbreak when you go into labor (your doctor will check) the dr. will not give you the option of delivering vaginally and you will go ahead with the c-section. Doctors don't roll the dice with that sort of thing. Taking the meds should prevent any outbreaks but if an outbreak is present, you will have a c-section. End of story.

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  • jgilesjgiles member
    I'm a former L&D nurse. We had pt's come in on valtrex all the time. If there was any concern about an outbreak they were scheduled for a c/section. If not then they were allowed to be try vaginal. with that being said. The valtrex will help with the amount of a outbreak and hopefully keep it under better control and shorter length of time. For the health of the baby I would recommend valtrex. If your water breaks and not on valtrex then LO has no kind of protection. for me it wouldn't be worth the risk to my LO. I would definitely talk to your OB though and get the pros and cons from him. You probably aren't the first one with the concerns that he has talked too.
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  • Thank you all so much for the responses! I have calmed down a lot from earlier and all your posts have helped calm my nerves. Especially the couple that wrote about not really listening to what is on the Valtrex website as they just have to cover their a*s. I never thought about that and it makes sense. I'm going to the doctor in the morning to have him check on whatever is causing this stabbing pain in my crotch and if it is in fact an outbreak coming on. If it is it will be so crazy as I have not had one since the initial one 8 years ago! But you know how these crazy pregnancy hormones can mess with your body so who knows.

    I'm going to talk to him about Valtrex but I'm 99% sure that I will end up taking it and will labor naturally if all goes the way it's supposed to. When I was freaking out earlier and thinking about getting a c-section instead of trying to labor naturally I got really sad. There is nothing wrong with getting a c-section at all but I've always wanted to at least try to give birth vaginally first and if we absolutely have to have a c-section then so be it. I really think I just need to chill and trust my doctor and let him guide me and I need to stop googling bc it's scaring the sh*t out of me. lol

    Anyways thank you all so much for your advice!! You are all awesome:)

  • It sounds like you are in a really hard situation. I personally would take the Valtrex to avoid a break out at all, but just in case you DO have a break out (fingers crossed that you dont!) It doesn't necessarily mean you need to get a c-section.

     I attended the birth of my friend's baby back in 2006, and she just so happened to break out with one herpes/wart JUST before she went into labor... And it was on a part of the vagina that could be covered up with a latex glove as the baby was coming out... so there was no risk of infection for the baby because they were able to cover it. Basically they don't want the baby to touch it because it can spread to them easily and if they get it in the eyes that is very bad news.

     Just make sure you communicate with your providers and make sure you ask them if it is possible to do this... it can help you to avoid a c-section and/or Valtrex.

     Good luck, I am not a provider of healthcare and every Dr, midwife, nurse is different in what they are comfortable doing so it doesn't hurt to ask :)

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