Hepatitis-B And Pregnancy: Everything You Should Know

Illness during pregnancy can be problematic no matter how big or small the illness is. The major reason for it is that the mother’s immune system is weakened and thus both the mother and the child are more susceptible to diseases. Keeping yourself safe during pregnancy is indeed important but then how will you keep yourself safe if you don’t know what to keep yourself safe from? Well, don’t worry, we have got you covered there. We will keep informing you of all the types of diseases you should be on the lookout for and keeping with that, let’s start with Hepatitis-B.

What is Hepatitis B?

Hepatitis is a name for swelling (inflammation) of the liver. There are different types of hepatitis. Hepatitis B is caused by a virus. It is passed from person to person in body fluids, such as blood, semen, or vaginal fluids. If you have hepatitis B during pregnancy, you can pass the virus onto your baby. That’s why a routine blood test to detect hepatitis B is offered to all pregnant women. Unlike adults, most babies can’t fight it off on their own.

What are the effects of Hepatitis B virus during pregnancy?

During pregnancy, there are several modifications in the maternal immune system, namely, a shift in the Th1-Th2 balance towards a Th2 response, increased amounts of regulatory T cells, etc., that contribute to a depressed immune response against HBV. The aim of these modifications is to prevent the rejection of the fetus who is partially allogenic for the mother’s immune system. These modifications result in an increase of HBV DNA and a reduction of aminotransferase levels. Although, a higher incidence of low birth weight and prematurity has been reported during acute infection than in the general population, whereas gestational diabetes mellitus, antepartum haemorrhage and preterm delivery are more frequent in chronic maternal HBV infection than in the general population.

What is the treatment for Hepatitis-B during pregnancy?

The management of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) during pregnancy remains a challenge and involves various aspects of maternal-fetal care. Emerging data suggest that antiviral therapy in the third trimester can prevent immunoprophylaxis failure. To minimize fetal exposure to antiviral agents, antiviral therapy during pregnancy should be reserved for mothers with advanced disease or who are at risk for hepatic decompensation. Current safety data suggest that lamivudine, telbivudine, or tenofovir may be used during pregnancy. However, the timing in initiating antiviral therapy requires careful assessment of risks and benefits.

Taking care of your own health while taking care of your baby’s health is very important and thus it is recommended that you take the best of precautions and keep yourself far away from disease-prone areas and situations. THough you might be able to fight off Hepatitis B through your immune system, if by any chance it gets to your unborn baby then it can turn into a severe disease for them. So, take care of your own health under all circumstances if not for yourself then for your baby’s sake.

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