Viral Hepatitis And Pregnancy: How To Protect Your Child From Hepatitis B And C

Hepatitis, also known as Hepatitis A, B, C, D, and E, is a form of liver infection brought on by viruses. Although it typically has no effect on your pregnancy or your kid, you can transmit it to your unborn child if you’re pregnant. Therefore, it is advised that all pregnant women receive hepatitis B and C testing as part of prenatal care. During pregnancy, doctors don’t usually perform hepatitis screenings. You should have it checked if you have any reason to believe you might be infected.

How does a woman infect her child with viral hepatitis? How will it impact the infant? How can hepatitis be prevented in infants? Here, renowned gynaecologist and infertility expert Dr. Hrishikesh Pai responds to frequently asked questions about hepatitis during pregnancy.

The Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai, the D Y Patil Hospital in Navi Mumbai, and the Fortis Hospitals in New Delhi, Gurugram, and Chandigarh are all affiliated with Dr. Pai.

A persistent, life-threatening illness will 90% likely develop in infants infected with the Hepatitis B virus. If they do not receive treatment for the illness, they could have serious liver issues.

What should be done if a pregnant woman has Hepatitis B and tests positive?

As part of prenatal care, every pregnant woman should undergo a blood test for Hepatitis B. In order to stop mother-to-child transmission of Hepatitis B, your doctor can prescribe a course of Hepatitis B immunisations.

Additionally, keep in mind that the virus is very contagious and can spread to others through contact with sperm, blood, or other bodily fluids from an infected person. Therefore, the father and other family members should also get screened and immunised for Hepatitis B.

Additionally crucial is taking care of oneself. To assess the health of your liver and decide whether you need treatment, you might need to undergo a few more tests. Although antiviral treatments can aid in the treatment of Hepatitis B, it is important to consult a doctor before using any over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, or supplements when expecting a child because some medications can harm the unborn.

How can we prevent Hepatitis B in infants?

Within 12 hours after birth, your baby should receive the first dose of the Hepatitis B vaccine and a shot of HBIG (Hepatitis B Immune Globulin) if a mother tested positive for Hepatitis B during pregnancy. Your baby’s capacity to combat the virus soon after delivery is improved by the HBIG shot. The newborn is less likely to contract the virus when the vaccine and the HBIG dose are administered together. It is only given to infants whose mothers have tested positive for hepatitis B, though.

Your infant must receive all doses of the Hepatitis B vaccine in order to prevent transmission. A series of three to four doses is administered, depending on the type of vaccine and your baby’s weight.

The first dose will be administered to your kid at birth, the second at one to two months, and the final shot at six months. When you should return with your infant for immunisations should be discussed with your doctor.

Get your child tested once they have completed all of their vaccinations. You can find out if your kid is immune to Hepatitis B by having a blood test. Typically, the blood test is performed two months following the last dose. The newborn should be nine months old before having a blood test.

Can infants of hepatitis B mothers breastfeed?

The virus cannot infect your baby while you are breastfeeding. If your baby received the first dose of HBIG or the Hepatitis B vaccine within 12 hours after delivery, breastfeeding is not prohibited. However, consult your doctor about whether you should breastfeed if you have open sores in your breasts or cracked nipples.

How can hepatitis C during pregnancy harm the unborn child?

By touching blood, using infected needles, or eating tainted food, you can catch this virus. The majority of individuals get it via exchanging needles or other injecting tools.

Hepatitis C affects one in every twenty children born to mothers who have the disease. This might take place before birth, during labour, or even in the womb.

Usually, the sickness does not impact the unborn child before delivery. Although the virus won’t pass through your breast milk to your infant, if your nipples are bleeding or cracked, see a doctor right away because the infection spreads through blood.

Since the newborn still has antibodies to the hepatitis virus from its mother, the majority of doctors advise testing the kid for hepatitis after 18 months. Testing earlier than that is useless. A test would reveal the infant is infected even if it is not.


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