The estimated number of pregnant women infected with HSV-2 is 880,000. Most transmission to newborns occurs during vaginal delivery. If a woman had genital herpes before getting pregnant, her baby may be infected but the chance is very low -- less than 1%. However, the risk of infecting the baby is much higher (25% to 50%) when a woman is newly infected late in pregnancy.
If you are pregnant and think you may be infected, tell your doctor right away. Women with genital herpes are examined carefully for any symptoms before giving birth. If sores or signs that an outbreak is coming are present at the time of delivery, the baby may be delivered by cesarean section (C-section).