Herpes Gestationis During Pregnancy – Important Facts To Know!

Herpes Gestationis

The most important thing to know about herpes gestationis is that it isn’t herpes at all. The common name was given to the condition because of the similar appearance and telltale sores that are present during its course. The illness manifests itself as skin lesions that often begin in the navel and spread upward and outward. While most people have their first herpes outbreak when they’re young, either in the form of oral herpes symptoms presenting a cold sore or fever blister as with herpes labialis, others had chicken pox as school children. However, for people who haven’t experienced the viral illness before, it’s easy to see how this condition was thought of or mistaken as a form of herpes for so long. Even herpes gladiatorum, which is often encountered by those in contact sports, can begin as a painful, blistering rash that can encompass the abdominal area.

For pregnant women, encountering herpes gestationis can be very scary. First of all, it’s important to know that the condition is very rare, and limited studies have been performed as a result. Less than a hundred women participated in the largest known study. It’s equally important to know that it is in fact, an autoimmune disease, not a contagious virus. Mishaps amongst binding antibodies is thought to be the cause, but how or why this happens and how it’s related to the placenta still seems to be unknown.

Fetal monitoring is important for women with this herpes gestationis. There is usually no damage to the developing baby, but low birth weight or premature birth has been reported. Long term effects on the mother can include the development of other autoimmune diseases.

Herpes gestationis is not curable. It’s treated with medications, usually corticosteroids, and treatment can continue after pregnancy. Remission is declared when there are no more blisters, but it’s important to remember that while remission is possible with treatment, it is a lifelong disease. This means that it can, and likely will, return with subsequent pregnancies. However, because it’s expected to come back in the event of another pregnancy, treatment is usually easier and the course of the disease is milder.