INTRODUCTION Cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex virus are associated with congenital or perinatal infection, causing potential damage to the newborn. OBJECTIVES Determine the prevalence of active or latent infection by cytomegalovirus and herpes simplex virus in a population of mothers, congenital infection by these agents in their infants, and association between prevalence of virus infection in mothers and in their newborns. METHODS A cross-sectional study was conducted from June to September 2012 in a population of 95 pregnant women admitted to the Dr Ramón González Coro University Maternity Hospital during the third trimester of pregnancy, and their infants (98). Patients were tested for antibodies specific to these viruses; vaginal swabs and urine from the women and serum and urine from the newborns were tested for viral genome. The Fisher exact test with 95% confidence interval was used for comparisons. RESULTS Of the women studied, 89.5% tested positive for cytomegalovirus and 83.2% for herpes simplex. Active infection from cytomegalovirus was detected in 16.7%, and from herpes simplex in 3.2%. Congenital cytomegalovirus infection was detected in 4.1% of newborns; no herpes simplex virus infection was found in this group. Two newborns of women with active cytomegalovirus infection were congenitally infected. CONCLUSIONS Serology demonstrated that most of the women were immune to both viruses. Active cytomegalovirus infections are common in this population, and newborns of women with active cytomegalovirus infection during pregnancy are at increased risk of congenital infection.