Staying away from infections is something that you surely want to do during your pregnancy. But sometimes, these infections catch you when you are off guard.
Hepatitis B is one such infection. The worst part about this infection is that you could be a chronic carrier of the same. Yes, there are vaccines and medicines for curing Hepatitis B, but getting them at the right time makes all the difference.
Causes Of Hepatitis B:
Hepatitis B is passed on through bodily fluids like blood and semen. It can happen in the following cases:
- If you are a health care professional and get infected by a carrier.
- Using needles that are not sterilized.
- Having sexual relation with an infected person.
- Using razors that are used by a carrier and may have a trace of blood.
- If you are getting blood transfusions or donating blood frequently, be very careful about the syringe being used.
[ Read: Anemia In Pregnancy ]
Risks Associated With Hepatitis B During Pregnancy:
On getting infected with Hepatitis B during your pregnancy, you may notice the following symptoms:
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Weakness and loss of appetite.
- Abdominal pain and pain in joints.
- Liver dysfunction.
There may be no symptoms if the infection is mild. So, it is highly possible that you may not know you are infected, and still be a carrier of the virus.
While you are pregnant, been infected with this disease could have the following risk factors:
- Extreme dehydration and lack of appetite. This affects the health of your baby and you.
- Though there are no records of deformities in newborn, there are risks of premature birth.
- Low birth weight of baby.
- In certain cases, if left untreated, it can cause miscarriage.
If you have the infection during delivery, or had contracted the infection in the last trimester, there is a high probability of the disease being transferred to your baby during birth.
Keeping all these risks in mind, you must make sure that proper treatment is provided.
[ Read: Thrombocytopenia In Pregnancy ]
Managing Hepatitis B In Pregnancy:
A routine blood test is done during pregnancy in the first trimester, or early in the second trimester. To check for the presence of Hepatitis B.
- If you test negative for the infection, and already have the antibody through prior vaccination, then you are fine.
- If you test negative, but are at risk of getting infected, and have not received the antibodies, then you will be administered the vaccine immediately.
- In case you test positive, having contracted the infection either during or before the pregnancy, then you will be further tested for complications, especially liver related problems
- Most patients are given the antibodies through hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG).
- You will be regularly monitored for changes in symptoms. Repeat tests will be done.
- Other members of the family are also tested, as they also may have the infection.
- Restriction in diet and antibiotics that are safe during pregnancy are given to minimize serious impact of the infection.
- Even if you have hepatitis B, you can have normal, as well as caesarean section deliveries, as both are safe.
[ Read: Shingles In Pregnancy ]
Treatment For The Newborn:
If you have the infection, there are risks of transmitting the same to your baby. The following actions will ensure safety of your newborn:
- Administering Hepatitis B immunoglobulin right after birth.
- First shot of vaccine must be given within twelve hours of birth.
- Successive doses of vaccine to be given at the age of one month and six months.
- In case you have serious symptoms, your baby will be monitored.
- Some tests may also be done to check the level of infection and proper functioning of the liver.
- If the vaccination and antibody are not given on time, then there is a risk of your baby developing chronic hepatitis B infection.
Follow the doctor’s advice and get the tests and screening done well in time. Also take all precautions to prevent hepatitis b during pregnancy. Lastly, get the hepatitis b vaccine in pregnancy if needed; it is absolutely safe during pregnancy and will protect you and your baby.
Do share your experiences with us in the comment section below.
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