• congenital malformations;
  • hepatitis B;
  • hepatitis C;
  • perinatal mortality;
  • pregnancy outcome;
  • premature rupture of membranes;
  • preterm delivery


Objective: To examine the impact of maternal hepatitis B virus (HBV) or hepatitis C virus (HCV) carrier status on pregnancy outcomes.

Methods: A population-based study was performed by comparing all pregnancies of HBsAg and/or anti-HCV seropositive women who delivered during the years 1988–2007 with all other pregnant women who delivered in the same period. Multivariable logistic regression models were constructed to control for confounders.

Results: Seven hundred and forty-nine hepatitis seropositive pregnant women were identified out of 186 619 deliveries (0.4%). Maternal characteristics, as well as perinatal outcomes, were comparable between the HBV and HCV carriers. HBV/HCV carriers had higher rates of preterm deliveries (<37 weeks gestation; 11.5 vs. 7.9%, P<0.001), premature rupture of membranes (8.9 vs. 6.9%, P=0.026), placental abruption (1.5 vs. 0.7%, P=0.018), labour induction (33.9 vs. 28.1%, P<0.001) and Caesarean deliveries (19.0 vs. 13.2%, P<0.001). Higher rates of perinatal mortality (2.3 vs. 1.3%, P=0.016), congenital malformations (7.2 vs. 5.1%, P=0.01) and low birth weight (<2500 kg; 10.4 vs. 7.8%, P=0.009) were noted in newborns of hepatitis carriers compared with the control group. Controlling for possible confounders such as maternal age and parity by using multivariable analyses, the significant association between HBV or HCV carrier status and perinatal mortality, congenital malformations and low birth weight remained significant.

Conclusions: Maternal HBV or HCV carrier status is an independent risk factor for adverse perinatal outcome and careful surveillance is warranted.