Can a seemingly simple viral infection like hepatitis become a threat during pregnancy? Why you should understand the risks of Hepatitis B and C infections in Pregnancy and Undergo the screening? Learn more about the same because the simple infections are dangerous for the life of the fetus and mother. Viruses affecting the liver cause Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C infections, which can lead to serious illnesses.
It is transmitted from one infected person to another via contact with his or her blood or body fluids. Statistics state 1 to 2% of all pregnant women is likely to acquire chronic hepatitis infection. The fetus can contract such infections during pregnancy, which is fatal for the fetus as well as creates Maternal Complications. For example, factors like receiving blood transfusions, use of intravenous drugs, unsafe sexual practices, surgical procedures, etc., can trigger an infection.
Why test for Hepatitis B and C infections in Pregnancy?
Modes of transmission
An affected mother can transfer the infection to the fetus-
- When the baby is inside the womb via the placenta (intrauterine)
- At the time of delivery Via the birth canal (intrapartum)
- After delivery through exposure to body fluids (postpartum)
Symptoms of Hepatitis infection
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Jaundice(yellowing of the skin and eyes)
- Stomach pain
- Pain in the muscles and joints
The aftermath of infection during pregnancy
- Preterm birth
- Low birth weight of the child
- High risk of abnormalities in the child
- The child becomes a carrier of the infection
- Liver cirrhosis or Liver Infections
- Development of cancer at a later stage of life
Why go for a test?
The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that all pregnant women should go under screening for the presence of hepatitis B surface antigens (HBsAg) in each pregnancy to prevent maternal and fetal complications. With the growing risk of blood-borne infections screening for Hepatitis C infection has become a necessity. Because the risk of blood-borne infections is growing, pregnant women should go under screening for Hepatitis C Infection or risk the life of the fetus.
How do I interpret the results?
If the test results are negative, it directly relates to the fact that both mother and fetus are free from HBV and HCV infection. On the contrary, if the results appear positive, then timely treatment and vaccination can prevent adverse outcomes. For example, the Negative results mean that the Mother and the Fetus are infection free. On the other hand, the Positive Results mean that the Mother and the Fetus are infected with the disease. Infants of HBs-Ag positive women are treated with post-exposure prophylaxis using hepatitis B vaccine and immune globulin within 12 hours of birth.
Save two lives with one simple test!