Hepatitis B Test: Know Why Is It Essential During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is the time of good care, nutrition and various check-ups. With increasing rate of hepatitis B in children and mothers, there is a need for mandatory hepatitis B test for all pregnant women.

Written by: Onlymyhealth Staff Writer Updated at: 2019-07-30 15:41

Pregnancy is the duration of various prediction, excitement, preparation and uncertainty for parents and especially for mothers. Good prenatal care which includes a good amount of nutrition, healthy habits and regular check-ups by the doctor is crucial for the overall health of the mother and child. Regular check-ups ensure a mother and child with good health and risk of various diseases which can be treated at the right time.

Recently, the United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) has recommended focussing on Hepatitis B test of pregnant women. According to a study conducted by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, most of the women suffer from Hepatitis B during different stages of pregnancy and this lead to chronic Hepatitis B in their infant.

What is Hepatitis B?

  • Hepatitis B is a type of viral infection that attacks the liver causing both acute and chronic diseases. 
  • This virus is mostly transmitted from mother to child during delivery and birth.
  • It can also be transferred through contact with blood pr other body fluids.
  • According to WHO, 257 million people are suffering from chronic Hepatitis B infection
  • In 2015 Hepatitis B resulted in more than 8 lakh deaths

Hepatitis B can be prevented by vaccines. Their vaccines are safe, easily available and effective.

Also Read: Midlife Mistakes: Things Women Should Avoid While Growing Old

Pregnant women must know there Hepatitis B status so that newborn baby can be prevented from the virus. Infants born to a mother with Hepatitis B have 90% more risk of developing chronic Hepatitis B if not treated properly at birth. This can only be possible if the pregnant women are screened during pregnancy with Hepatitis B test. 

Hepatitis B test during prenatal can help the doctor to provide proper care and medication to pregnant women. This will not only ensures mother health but also prevent the newborn from being infected. Hepatitis B is not prevalent in all pregnant women but if a test for Hepatitis B comes out to be positive, then newborn must go with two ways of vaccination immediately 

  • A 3-dose Hepatitis B vaccine schedule 
  • A 4- dose vaccine 

Test for Hepatitis B becomes more important for women who are at high-risk groups such as health care workers, women from certain ethnic communities with the prevalence of Hepatitis B, women who are living with infected partners or spouses. Other high-risk groups are

  • Dialysis patients and people have gone through organ transplantations
  • Women and their partners who are in prisons
  • Women with drug addiction
  • Having multiple sexual partners
  • Expose to blood and blood products through work prevalent in health care workers
  • Travelers without HBV  

Get tested with Hepatitis B during the first trimester of pregnancy due to the following reasons:

  • This can help health care providers and parents an idea to prevent a child from infection. 
  • This can also help in providing proper care to mother and prevent complications of infection like pain and jaundice during pregnancy.
  • The test can prevent the vertical transmission of infection from mother to infants.
  • Also, this allows the doctor to take additional precautions during labor and delivery of a newborn which further reduce the risk of transmission.
Also Read: World Breastfeeding Week 2019: Step By Step Guide On How To Breastfeed A Baby

Hepatitis B is a life-threatening liver infection caused by the Hepatitis B virus (HBV). It is one of the major global health problems. It can become chronic and can cause death from cirrhosis/fibrosis ( liver disease) and liver cancer. 

Preventing Hepatitis B infection in pregnant women can prevent the development of complication like chronic disease and liver cancer. As in the case of pregnant women, the transmission to the child can be stopped which can decrease the Hepatitis B cases shortly.

Read more articles on Women’s Health 


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