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Treatment During Pregnancy

A hepatitis B infection should not cause any problems for you or your unborn baby during your pregnancy. It is important for your doctor to be aware of your hepatitis B infection so that he or she can monitor your health and so your baby can be protected from an infection after it is born. If you live outside of the U.S. and are unsure of your hepatitis B status, please ask your doctor to test you for hepatitis B.

Failure of the birth dose of the HBV vaccine and HBIG may occur in women who are HBeAg positive and have a very high viral load, allowing for the transmission of hepatitis B to your baby.

All women who are diagnosed with hepatitis B in pregnancy should be referred for follow up care with a physician skilled at managing hepatitis B infection. Your physician should perform additional laboratory testing, including hepatitis B e-antigen, HBV DNA level, and liver function tests (ALT). (click here for a detailed description of these tests)

A virus level greater than 200,000 IU/mL or 1 million cp/ml indicates a level where the combination of the birth dose of the vaccine and HBIG may fail. First-line, antiviral therapy with tenofovir may be recommended. Second-line antivirals include treatment with telbivudine or lamivudine . Antiviral treatment begins at 28-32 weeks and continues 3 months postpartum.