Screening for Hepatitis B is usually done at the first prenatal visit for 95% women but these women are not identified and followed –up sufficiently. Once a pregnant woman tests positive for Hepatitis B, she should be carefully monitored and given timely intervention during delivery to prevent transmission of the virus to the baby
If proper treatment is not provided, the virus is transmitted to the newborn and such an infected infant has
- 90% risk of progression to chronic hepatitis B
- 25% may die prematurely from HBV-related hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) or cirrhosis
Sometimes, Hepatitis B positive pregnant women are not informed properly regarding the infection, results are misinterpreted, or not reported by pregnant women themselves.
Detection– The principal screening test for detecting maternal HBV infection is the serologic identification of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg).
The first blood test, once pregnancy is confirmed, should include the HBsAg test and if results are positive , concerned obstetrician should be informed about it especially at the time of delivery such that necessary steps can be taken to prevent transmission.