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Protect Your Baby Against Hepatitis B

Although every mother hopes for a healthy child, there is a serious liver disease that can harm your baby.

What is hepatitis B?

It is an inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis B virus.  Hepatitis B can lead to severe liver damage and liver cancer. Prevention of this infection is extremely important as there are no completely effective forms of treatment. Most people with hepatitis B have no symptoms and can unknowingly transmit the virus to others.

How is hepatitis B spread?

The hepatitis B virus is spread from an infected person to other people through blood and body fluids.

Why should I be concerned?

There is a high risk that pregnant women who are infected with hepatitis B will pass this virus on to their infants at birth or soon after delivery. Most infants who are infected at birth will develop chronic hepatitis B infection that can lead to severe liver disease and liver cancer later in life.

How can I protect my unborn baby from getting
hepatitis B?

1. Ask your doctor to test you for hepatitis B while pregnant.

2. Find out from your doctor what your hepatitis B test result is.

3. If the test result shows that you have the virus, make sure your baby receives the free hepatitis B vaccine:

  • First dose of the hepatitis B vaccine with the Hepatitis B Immunoglobulin (HBIG) within 12 hours after birth.
  • Second dose of the hepatitis B vaccine one month after the first dose.
  • Third dose of the hepatitis B vaccine five months after the second dose.

To achieve the best and lasting protection, your baby must receive all three doses of the vaccine.

4. Make sure your baby is protected by asking your doctor to test your baby one month after the third dose of the hepatitis B vaccine was administered.

Ask your doctor:

Have I been tested for hepatitis B?

  • yes - When and what is the result?  
  • no  - Ask your doctor to test you today.

If your test result shows that you carry the hepatitis B virus, make sure your baby receives:

  • within 12 hours after birth: HBIG + 1st dose of the vaccine,
  • at one month: 2nd dose of the vaccine,
  • at six months: 3rd dose of the vaccine,
  • at seven months: blood test to verify protection against
    hepatitis B.

Result

  • immune/protected
  • non-immune/not protected