Cold sores are mostly very painful. Even if you have it once, there are high chances that you have it again, for, the virus does not leave the body. Cold sores reappear when you are stressed out or when the body goes through hormonal changes. As pregnancy involves both stress and hormonal changes, cold sores are bound to appear during the 9-month gestation period.
Here’s everything you need to know about cold sores.
Popularly known as ‘fever blisters’, cold sores appear in small groups around the mouth and lips of a woman. The affected area swells, sores and turns red. Sometimes, these blisters break open, leaking translucent fluid or pus. It eventually heals in a few days. As the healing process begins, a scab will form on the broken blisters and it soon begins to recede, healing completely in about a week or two.
Is it common to get cold sores during pregnancy? Yes, cold sores appear frequently during pregnancy, especially the first trimester.
The Herpes Simplex Virus or, HSV is responsible for causing cold sores. Cold sores can appear around the mouth, lips and genitals. HSV can be classified into two prominent types, HSV1 and HSV2.
The virus enters the body through open wounds in or around the mouth. HSV is transferrable, hence, when an affected person shares utensils, glasses or water bottles, the virus is transferred from one person to the other. Mouth to mouth contact or contact with any open wounds can also transfer the virus. The virus is not localized. It tends to spread across the body.
Cold sores are frequent during pregnancies because at this time the body goes through hormonal changes for the development of the foetus. It is especially common during the early stages of pregnancy.
While some people are asymptomatic and do not show any prior signs or symptoms, there are a few very obvious signs and symptoms of cold sores during pregnancies. Here are a few basic symptoms you should look out for if you think you are developing a cold sore:
Pregnant women often fear if the cold sores might have a severe impact on the development of the foetus. Here are a few clarifications on if your unborn baby might be affected by these cold sores:
Catching a cold, while carrying a baby is mostly not harmful. Since the HSV attacks the regions around the mouth, it is unlikely that it will cross the placenta and reach the foetus. This is because cold sores are mostly localized infections.
However, contracting the Herpes Virus during the last trimester might be harmful to the baby. At this stage in pregnancy, the body has not yet developed antibodies for the protection of the child, thus, the yet unborn are unequipped to fight the virus well. Although oral HSV does not affect the baby, cold sores around the vagina might put the health of the baby at risk.
HSV around the genitals is more harmful, for the baby contracts it while passing through the vagina during birth.
Cold sores can be easily diagnosed at home and it is quite easy to spot it. However, if you do not wish to take the risk, you might consult your Obstetrics-gynecologist. The doctor usually interrogates the origin of the virus and tests if it is present in your body or not. Furthermore, you can go through a thorough physical examination if you wish to.
The Herpes Virus cannot be cured, but it can be healed faster once it begins to appear. Once you contract HSV, it remains in your body forever. However, here are a few easy ways to get rid of cold sores during pregnancies:
There is no proven evidence that cold sores can be treated by natural or home care remedies. However, to reduce the discomfort and pain, you can use certain home remedies to treat cold sores:
Also Read: How To Detect & Prevent Herpes