Hepatitis B Information for Pregnant Women

Updated 2/2016

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    • What is hepatitis B?

    • Hepatitis B is a liver disease caused by a virus. For many people who get hepatitis B, the virus stays in the body, causing a lifelong illness.
    • Hepatitis B can cause serious health problems over time, including liver damage, liver failure, and liver cancer.
    • Most people who have hepatitis B have no symptoms and may not know they have it. But they can still pass hepatitis B to others.

      Why should pregnant women get tested?

    • If a pregnant woman tests positive for hepatitis B, her baby must be treated at birth. Babies who get treatment when they are born rarely get hepatitis B.
    • When babies become infected with hepatitis B they are very likely to develop a lifelong infection.
    • Pregnant women should be tested for hepatitis B during every pregnancy.

      What should you do if you have hepatitis B and are pregnant?

    • See your health care provider to discuss how to manage your hepatitis B infection.
    • There are treatments available that can reduce the risk of passing hepatitis B on to your baby.
    • If you don’t know if you have hepatitis B, ask your provider to order a blood test for hepatitis B.

      How can you protect your baby from getting infected?

    • Get tested for hepatitis B during every pregnancy.
    • If you test negative for hepatitis B, ask your provider about hepatitis B vaccination.
    • If you test positive for hepatitis B, your baby will need treatment and follow up:
      • Your baby will receive the first dose of the vaccine series and hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) after birth.
      • Your baby will need to finish the hepatitis B vaccine series.
      • After the vaccine series, your doctor will draw blood to make sure your baby is protected from hepatitis B.
    • It is safe to breastfeed even if you have hepatitis B.

Updated Thursday, February 11, 2016 at 09:09AM