June 30, 2010

Hepatitis B Immunization During Pregnancy

Posted in Category : Women's Health

Hepatitis B is a classification of the hepatitis virus. It is a virus that affects the liver and causes symptoms that are related to liver disease. These symptoms include jaundice, vomiting and a sore liver because it is severely inflamed. Hepatitis B is rarely life threatening and tends to disappear with proper care and treatment. It can also be prevented through vaccination. However, a prolonged and untreated case of Hepatitis B is likely to be harmful to the liver and could cause liver cirrhosis which is a life threatening condition. Hepatitis B does not instantly cause jaundice symptoms, the symptoms tend to worsen as the disease sets in. Initial symptoms are related to poor health, dark urine, fever, nausea and vomiting. Hepatitis B immunization before pregnancy is important so that the disease does not occur during pregnancy and hence does not pose a risk of hepatitis B infecting the baby. The virus is present in human blood and can be transmitted during blood transfusions or when contact is made with infected blood.

Hepatitis B tends to infect an individual for a long period of time. When a person is infected with the condition, it is recommended that all people in regular contact with that person be immunized. In a pregnant mother the development of the symptoms of Hepatitis B can be confirmed through blood tests. It is important to understand the exact disease because several pregnancy-related conditions can present with similar symptoms. Hepatitis B treatment during pregnancy is important as the mother should be as healthy as possible during childbirth. The risk of Hepatitis B to the baby is especially during C section or vaginal delivery. This is when the baby can come into contact with infected blood. The hepatitis B vaccine after pregnancy will be given to the newborn child within a day or two of childbirth when the mother tests positive for the infection. Babies born to Hepatitis B infected mothers are likely to develop chronic Hepatitis and are susceptible to liver problems throughout their lifetime if they are not vaccinated at childbirth itself.

Hepatitis B is also transmittable through sexual contact. If the father is infected with the condition then it is advisable to have the mother vaccinated before an attempt is made to get pregnant. This will prevent the infection from reaching the mother, and therefore the child. The child will still be vaccinated at birth to prevent any infection through contact with the infected father.