Yes, the most common way people get hepatitis B is during childbirth. This can happen in a vaginal or caesarean delivery, but there are ways to help prevent transmission to your baby.

All babies born in Australia should get an injection of hepatitis B vaccine soon after they are born (the birth dose). If you are pregnant and have hepatitis B, your baby should get an extra injection within 12 hours of being born of hepatitis B immunoglobulin. The hepatitis B immunoglobulin injection contains antibodies that help the baby’s immune system to fight the virus. These injections, together with the follow up vaccine injections, are very effective at protecting the baby against hepatitis B.

Some women can also benefit from antiviral treatment during pregnancy to reduce the risk of passing the virus on to their baby, which your doctor can advise you about. The treatment is very safe to take during pregnancy, and if you get pregnant while you are taking treatment you should continue your medication.


References

Department of Health. (2018, June 4). Infants born to mothers who are hepatitis B surface antigen–positive are recommended to receive both hepatitis B vaccine and HBIG.

ASHM. (2018). Managing hepatitis B virus in pregnancy and children. Retrieved from B Positive: Hepatitis B for Primary Care


Updated 2 December 2019