Hepatitis B is a viral infection that affects the liver and can, in some people, lead to lasting liver damage and/or liver cancer. Hepatitis B is passed on through contact with the blood or body fluids of an infected person, often via sexual contact or sharing needles to inject drugs. Healthcare and laboratory workers may also be at risk of catching hepatitis B through contact at work.
If a pregnant woman acquires hepatitis B the virus can pass from the mother to the baby in the womb, or during or after birth. Up to one in every three babies infected in this way will develop serious or fatal liver disease. Some studies have also linked hepatitis B infection in pregnancy to preterm birth and low birth weight in the baby.
Hepatitis B Infection can cause Miscarriages:
Although there are numerous reasons for miscarriage and nearly 50% are on the unknown cause list. Of the miscarriages that do have causes ascribed to them, one factor that is prevalent in recurrent miscarriages is infection. If a woman has an infectious condition that causes a miscarriage and she is never treated for the same, then there are chances of a subsequent miscarriage increases and her pregnancy will be at high risk.
If you are pregnant and have Hepatitis B – Be aware:
If you have hepatitis B during pregnancy, the infection can flare up again after you have had your baby. It’s possible for you to pass on hepatitis B to your baby. The virus can be passed to your baby while he is in your uterus (womb), or while you’re giving birth to him. You can have a vaginal birth. Having a caesarean won’t decrease the chances of your baby contracting hepatitis B.
How to protect your baby from Hepatitis B Infection?
Your baby can be protected against hepatitis B as soon as he or she is born.
The baby will receive a course of immunisations with the hepatitis B vaccine, starting with an injection when he is just born.
Your baby will have more immunisations when he or she is two months, four months and either six or 12 month old.
In some cases, when your baby was born very early, he may be given an injection called hepatitis B immunoglobulin, as well as the vaccine.
This treatment by immunisation works very well. But it is important to make sure your baby has all of the vaccinations on time. Without treatment, nine in 10 babies who contract the virus from their mothers will go on to have chronic hepatitis.