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From: ((Steven B. Harris))
Date: 01 Jul 1995

In <3s8rv8$> (Mike Ellwood)

>: If you understand how children enter the world, Hank, I think you can
>: imagine how a child could contract herpes without ever having
>: sexual intercourse.  To put it bluntly, instead of having just your
>: penis in an infected vagina, imagine having your whole body pushed and
>: dragged through one.  Guess what?  Most other "venerial" diseases, if
>: present in the mother, can be transmitted to children in the same way.
>: Only an idiot would imagine otherwise.
>:                                    Steve Harris, M.D.
>That seems a little simplistic, if I may say so.
>Are you saying that the reason such diseases may be passed from
>mother to child is due to that relatively brief passage through
>the vagina, and nothing to do with the fact that throughout
>pregnancy, the mother has been the sole food and blood source
>for the child?

Yep.  The mother's blood and the child's blood do not mix, if you will
remember your anatomy (except in very tiny amounts due to leaks).  The
other reason why many maternal "venerial" diseases aren't transmitted,
is that most such diseases never are present in the infected person's
blood in large amounts.  Such sepsis causes fever, prostration, and
lesions everywhere, but that never happens with most VD.  Most sexually
transmitted diseases confine themselves to the area of interest (the
genital mucosa and surrounding areas, and the normal immune system
controls the infection to that area (and its surrounding nodes) fairly
effectively.  Any organisms which make it into the blood are rapidly
dealt with.  This combination of good blood-borne control, plus the
insulation between mother and child's blood systems, works pretty well
to keep most sexually trasmitted diseases from being transmitted before
birth (and keep them from being transmitted at all, if C-section is

                                                 Steve Harris, M.D.

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