The tragic death of a ten day old baby boy in Manchester has highlighted the dangers of herpes during pregnancy.
It was reported in the Manchester Evening News, that 22-year-old mother Kira Aldcroft faced the heartbreaking decision to turn off her son Leo’s life support machine. He contracted the virus during delivery.
The young mother had no idea she was living with the Herpes HSV2 virus until it became apparent that her newborn baby was in trouble. He began suffering a clot and swelling on the brain before his organs began to shut down.
The sexually transmitted infection can often show no symptoms when contracted. This means that many adults may live with the virus for years without knowing.
The need for tests
This devastating case highlights the importance of STI tests for both expectant mothers and couples that are trying for a baby.
“People can carry STDs such as herpes for many years without showing any symptoms,” explained Your Sexual Health specialist Dr Rashid Bani. “The virus may not pose a huge threat to otherwise healthy adults however, as in this case, it can be fatal for a newborn baby.”
“The only effective way to prevent cases like this from occurring is to complete accurate and comprehensive STI testing. The delivery could have been performed differently had the diagnosis been known.”
STI testing should be completed by both partners when trying for a baby and although tests should be carried out during pregnancy they don’t always diagnose the full range of conditions.
Pre-pregnancy STI Tests from Your Sexual Health
Your Sexual Health offer a range of private sexual health tests that can be carried out before trying for a baby, including our comprehensive Profile 1 test which diagnoses the full range of conditions.
You can find out more about STI testing before pregnancy on our information page, including advice on which conditions can cause the highest risk.
As well as posing a dangerous risk when born, STDs such as chlamydia can prevent women from getting pregnant.
The points below explain how the full range of sexually transmitted infections can cause complications during pregnancy.
- HIV/AIDS – This potentially fatal STI can be passed between mother and baby during pregnancy. Identification of the condition is vital so that medication can be used to prevent transmission to the unborn baby.
- Herpes – As in Baby Leo’s case Herpes can be passed on at birth and become fatal. A cesarean section can prevent transmission to the baby.
- Gonorrhoea & chlamydia – These STDs can go unnoticed for years and may cause complications during pregnancy including miscarriage or preterm delivery.
- Syphilis – Can cause a severe infection in a newborn baby during delivery which can prove fatal.
- Hepatitis B – this disease can be passed to the baby through the placenta which can cause the baby to become a lifelong carrier of the disease.
If you’re trying for a baby then our Profile 1 test will help set you on the road to a healthy pregnancy, book an appointment today.