Cold Sores

Cold Sores During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding*

5 min read
Cold Sores During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding* Cold Sores During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding* Cold Sores During Pregnancy and Breastfeeding*

Having a cold sore at any point in time can be both annoying and painful – but what happens when you develop a cold sore outbreak while pregnant? Should you be worried about passing on the virus to your baby?

Better understanding the effects of cold sores during pregnancy will help put your mind at ease and inform you on how to manage a cold sore outbreak during your pregnancy.

Why Do I Keep Getting Cold Sores While Pregnant?

If you are an individual prone to cold sores, you likely already know the cause of cold sores: the herpes simplex virus, also known as the HSV-1 virus. It is a virus that does not always show symptoms, meaning that many people carry it unknowingly. When the virus does flare up (this can be due several factors, both environmental and internal) it appears around the lips as blistered sores that cause pain and discomfort. There is no known cure for the HSV-1 virus.

Pregnancy is a condition that can bring about an increased likelihood of cold sore outbreaks. This can be due to stress, but is also closely linked to hormonal fluctuations, which is why you may experience more cold sore outbreaks than usual during pregnancy.

Are Cold Sores Dangerous during Pregnancy or after birth?

In general, a cold sore is not a cause for concern during pregnancy. This is because cold sores are considered localised infections, so there is no way for the virus to pass through the protective placenta to affect your growing baby.

Cold sores need important precautions after birth however, and it is recommended that you seek urgent assistance via a physician. If you happen to experience an outbreak, it is best to follow these simple steps:

  • Cover your cold sores when you are around your baby. You can use a discreet healing patch along with a mask to do this.
  • Avoid kissing your baby until the sores are completely healed (a difficult task, we know!)
  • Avoid touching the cold sores, and then touching your baby
  • Wash or sanitise your hands thoroughly before touching your baby after having touched your cold sore.

Maintaining strict hygiene habits is one of the most important things you can do for your baby after birth. It is also very important that family and friends who may have contact with the baby are being hygienic as well. Fortunately, when a pregnant woman gives birth, she is managed by an expert medical team that takes care of everything – so it is unlikely that she will pass the virus on to her bay during the act of giving birth.

What About Baby Cold Sores?

If you suspect that your baby may have contracted the cold sore virus it is important that they are treated by a doctor, and it is also recommended that you seek urgent assistance via a physician. If you wish to know more about baby cold sores, contact your health care professional.

What If I Have A Cold Sore While Breastfeeding?

If you have a cold sore, it is safe to continue to breastfeed your baby. The virus is not passed on through the breast milk, but you can consider a combination of a discreet cold sore patch and a face mask to protect your baby.

If you have any concerns regarding your infant’s health, we always recommend checking with your doctor, as they will always have the best recommendations when it comes to health and treatment. For other cold sore-related queries, we have plenty of information and advice available throughout our range of informative online articles.

* Please note that this article does not replace the advice of a medical professional. Always seek the correct assistance from a health care professional.