There is no need for surgical treatment for genital herpes. But if you are pregnant and genital herpes is diagnosed or suspected at the time of labor and delivery, a cesarean section (surgical) delivery may be recommended to protect the baby from getting a herpes simplex infection, which can cause serious health problems. A mother can pass the herpes simplex virus (HSV) to her baby if she has a sore or blister present during a vaginal delivery.
The biggest risk occurs during a first-time (primary) outbreak of genital herpes. Usually in these cases the woman either does not have symptoms or is unaware of symptoms. Experts disagree about the use of cesarean section delivery in women with recurrent outbreaks of genital herpes.
Cesarean section may be recommended if a woman has symptoms such as tingling or pain (prodromal symptoms) that signal an impending outbreak. For these women, acyclovir (Zovirax) used in the last 4 weeks of pregnancy may reduce the need for delivery by cesarean section by reducing the risk of a recurrent outbreak at the time of delivery.
A cesarean section is usually not done if a woman with recurrent genital herpes has blisters or sores only on her thighs, buttocks or another area that is not close to the vagina.
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