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B SMART about Hepatitis B- Pregnancy and Vaccination

CHICAGO, IL: Are you pregnant? You may be at risk of passing on Hepatitis B to your child. One way the disease is transmitted is through birth, mother to child. Therefore, while Hepatitis B screening and vaccination is important for everyone, these precautions are even more necessary for pregnant women to protect their children.

Hepatitis B, a serious liver disease, can also be transmitted through blood and other bodily fluids. About 1 in 3 people worldwide (two billion) have had the infection in their life. Many do not realize they have it, but it is still damaging their livers. The liver is a key body organ, performing hundreds of vital functions, from clearing waste to absorbing nutrients. Hepatitis B can permanently damage the liver, even leading to liver cancer or failure.

Even without outward symptoms, a simple blood test can tell whether you have hepatitis B. Based on this test, the health provider will tell you whether you should seek treatment, get vaccinated, or are already immune.

Hepatitis B can be either acute or, if it last for more than 6 months, chronic. Chronic hepatitis B cannot be cured, but only managed to prevent liver damage. Only about 10% of adults develop chronic hepatitis B while 50% of children and 90% of infants do.

Therefore, if you are pregnant, it is very important to get screened and vaccinate your children, so they do not get chronic hepatitis B. Hepatitis B is easily preventable and treatable. Don’t risk your child’s health!

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