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Can a Woman Breastfeed if She Has Genital Herpes?


Updated September 15, 2007

Question: Can a Woman Breastfeed if She Has Genital Herpes?
Under normal circumstances, breastfeeding is the best option for women when it comes time to feed their baby. But in the case of HIV+ women they are instructed not to breastfeed if at all possible for fear of infecting their baby. But what about other viral infections? Specifically, what about genital herpes? Can a woman breastfeed her baby if she has genital herpes?

Simply put, the answer is yes, breastfeeding with genital herpes is safe for your newborn. Genital herpes (herpes simplex) is spread by direct contact with the virus that causes genital herpes; primarily during sexual contact.

What is Genital Herpes (Herpes Simplex)?

The virus that causes herpes is not present in breast milk, therefore your baby can't contract herpes by breastfeeding. Keep in mind however that the virus can be spread to the baby if he or she comes in contact with a herpes lesion, for example if you had a herpes lesion on your breast.

Condoms Do Protect Against Genital Herpes

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