Herpes Gestations is also commonly referred to as Pemphigoid Gestationis. Unlike what you may have heard, the condition is not linked to viruses. Herpes Gestationis is a rare condition that is typified with itchy feeling. The condition is an autoimmune infection that commonly occurs between the 3rd and 4th trimester. According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), there is one in every 7,000 to 50,000 pregnant women suffering from the disease.


Herpes Gestationis often starts with extremely itchy, inflamed hives or tiny swelling that occur round the belly button. It doesn’t take too long for the rash to spread to other parts of the body after the initial appearance. The tiny swellings merge to form a strangely-shaped circular patch, which covers a big portion of the skin. The rash can appear on any part of the body. But some of the common places are palms, trunk, soles, buttocks, forearms and back. In contrast to other forms of herpes, the condition does not manifest on the face, mouth and scalp. Two to four weeks after the rash has appeared, huge, rigid blisters appear on the edges surrounding the rash. If the blisters are not infected, they will heal without any kind of scarring.

As pointed out earlier, Herpes Gestationis props up on the 2nd or 3rd trimester of pregnancy. However, there are reports which indicate that the condition can appear in the 1st trimester or shortly after birth. According to the CDC, the average appearance of the condition is on the 21st week of the gestation. The rash can disappear on its own a few weeks after the initial appearance. However, flare ups have been noted in roughly 70% to 85% of women shortly before delivery.

The rashes can relapse as soon as the carrier starts experiencing menstrual flow or taking contraceptives. The condition is quite severe in subsequent pregnancies if they do recur. Regrettably, CDC estimates that roughly 8% to 10% of women do not suffer from relapse during a subsequent pregnancy.


According to CDC, Herpes Gestationis is an autoimmune disease. Antibodies stick to particular kinds of connective tissues within the skin, thereby triggering an inflammatory reaction. This reaction is exhibited by itching, formation of blisters, soreness, redness and swelling. Herpes Gestationis is diagnosed by taking samples from affected skin for testing. A distinct test is usually detected by a test of antibodies.


In a handful of women suffering from Herpes Gestationis, treatment can be administered by applying steroid creams. However, this kind of treatment is only given in mild cases. Antihistamines can also be prescribed to women with mild Herpes Gestationis. Nevertheless, a majority of women need oral steroids in order to subdue the signs and symptoms. Doctors often prescribe high dosage in order to ensure that the signs and symptoms are subdued. As the rashes start to clear, the dosage is decreased.

Effect of the Herpes Gestationis on the Child

Since antibodies are known for crossing the placenta, antibodies which are responsible for triggering Herpes Gestationis can interfere with the development of the baby. Conspicuous rashes have been noted in roughly 5% of newborns delivered from mothers with this kind of condition. The good news is that the rashes noted in newborns are dormant and often clear without any kind of medication.

There are also medical studies which indicate that women diagnosed with Herpes Gestationis are more likely to have premature deliveries. There are no documented medical evidences which indicate that the condition can lead to either stillbirth or miscarriage. Therefore, it is highly recommended that pregnant women who notice the symptoms mentioned herein to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

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