What are the dermatologic manifestations of herpes simplex virus (HSV) during pregnancy?

Updated: Mar 17, 2020
  • Author: Sean P McGregor, DO, PharmD; Chief Editor: William D James, MD  more...
  • Print

HSV-2 infection in pregnancy can have devastating effects on the fetus. Neonatal HSV usually manifests within the first 2 weeks of life and clinically ranges from localized skin, mucosal, or eye infections to encephalitis, pneumonitis, disseminated infection, and demise.

Most women who deliver infants with neonatal HSV had no prior history, signs, or symptoms of HSV infection. Risk of transmission is highest in pregnant women who are seronegative for both HSV-1 and HSV-2 and acquire a new HSV infection in the third trimester of pregnancy.

Factors that increase the risk of transmission from mother to baby include the type of genital infection at the time of delivery (higher risk with active primary infection), active lesions, prolonged rupture of membranes, vaginal delivery, and an absence of transplacental antibodies. The mortality rate for neonates is extremely high (>80%) if untreated.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!