Hepatitis B in Pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

hepatitis b during pregnancy

Hepatitis B and pregnancy. All you need to know:

What is Hepatitis B in pregnancy?

As you already know by now, and must have experienced, pregnant women have a list of mandatory blood tests they have to take and one such test is to check for the Hepatitis B virus. This virus can cause damage to the liver and sometimes, in sever cases may lead to death. This is why utmost care is taken to ensure that detection happens right at the beginning, itself.

Causes of Hepatitis B in pregnancy:

The Hepatitis B virus is highly infectious and passes through in the body fluids like blood and semen amongst others. There are numerous ways in which the virus could have infected you which include

  • Your partner (sexual intercourse)
  • Your mother (could have been a carrier)
  • Sharing needles
  • Getting a tattoo or piercing from somewhere where adequate sanitation is not maintained

Symptoms of Hepatitis B in pregnancy:

The possible symptoms of being infected are a sense of tiredness, experiencing abdominal pain, nausea, etc. There is always a probability that you could not be exhibiting any of the symptoms and yet be carrying the virus.

Not a carrier

If you feel you are at a risk of contracting the disease and are not yet a carrier, your gynaecologist may recommend a vaccine for the same.

A carrier

If you do happen to be a carrier though do not worry. Your gynaecologist will be able to take necessary precautions during the delivery and also do the needful to ensure the baby is not infected. In case you are infected by the Hepatitis B virus drinking alcohol is totally off the table and that is not just because you are pregnant.

Caesarean deliveries and normal deliveries are both safe even if you test positive for Hepatitis B. Your baby within the first 12 hours will receive the Hepatitis B, first shot of and in the following the paediatrician check-ups she will receive the subsequent doses (2 more after the first one.)

It is perfectly okay to breastfeed your child if she has received the required vaccinations at birth.

As the virus could cause severe liver disease it would be advisable to continue to have regular follow-up check-ups post the delivery too.

Treatment For Hepatitis In Pregnancy:

If you’ve been diagnosed with Hepatitis B after your antenatal blood has been tested, chances are you have already been referred to a specialist who will help you with your case, throughout your pregnancy and after.

There are treatments that start from the third trimester, which your doctor will prescribe. This treatment usually continues for four to twelve weeks, depending upon the severity of the case.

The other thing you have to keep in mind is to try and not stress out, stress has been known to affect the liver and might flare up your problem. Relax after finding a trustworthy doctor and let nature take its course. Never miss appointments or any medicines, though!