Pregnancy and chronic hepatitis B virus infection


Dr Manoj Kumar, Department of Hepatology, Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, D-1, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi-110070, India. Email:


The combination of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and pregnancy presents unique management questions. Aspects of care that need to be considered include effects of hepatitis B on pregnancy, effects of pregnancy itself on the course of hepatitis B infection, treatment of hepatitis B during pregnancy and prevention of mother-to-infant transmission. Chronic HBV infection is usually mild in pregnant women, but may flare shortly after delivery. Effect of HBV infection on pregnancy outcomes are generally favorable, but may depend on severity of liver disease. Mother-to-infant transmission can be minimized by current immunoprophylaxis strategies, however, high levels of viremia in mothers may be a factor in the small but reproducible failure rate of current immunoprophylaxis strategies. Use of antivirals during pregnancy needs to be individualized. Careful planning and management of pregnancy must be done among patients with chronic HBV infection.