Hepatitis C During Pregnancy

Hepatitis C is a viral disease in which the liver becomes inflamed.

WILL THE DISEASE SPREAD TO MY BABY?

There are no vaccines or treatments available to lower the risk of spreading hepatitis C to your baby. However, the chance of your unborn baby (fetus) being infected is low. The risk of infection to your fetus is increased if:

  • You have a weakened immune system due to HIV infection.  

  • You have a high hepatitis C virus (HCV) count in your blood.  

  • You have RNA levels in your blood (you are "RNA-positive").  

  • An internal fetal monitor is used during labor.

  • You have abnormal live function test results.

  • You have cirrhosis of the liver.  

The risk of infection to your baby is not increased if:

  • You have a prolonged labor.

  • You breastfeed your baby.

The risk of your child having the disease is the same whether your baby is born by vaginal delivery or cesarean delivery. If you do not have HIV, you can breastfeed your baby with Hepatitis C.

HOME CARE INSTRUCTIONS

  • Keep regular appointments with your health care provider so your liver function can be checked.

  • Make sure you understand what medicines are safe for you to take during pregnancy.

  • Get plenty of rest and sleep.  

  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet.  

  • Protect your abdomen from injury (trauma). Trauma could rupture a swollen, enlarged liver.  

  • Only take medicines as directed by your health care provider.  

  • Check with your health care provider before taking any new medicines including over-the-counter medicines. You may need a different dosage or may need to avoid taking certain medicines if liver damage is possible.  

  • Take your vitamins and supplements as directed by your health care provider.  

SEEK MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • You develop nausea, tiredness, and loss of appetite.  

  • Your urine is dark and your stool is light or gray.  

  • You develop pain in your upper abdomen.  

SEEK IMMEDIATE MEDICAL CARE IF:

  • Your skin and the whites of your eyes turn yellow.  

  • You have a fever or persistent symptoms for more than 2–3 days.  

  • You have a fever and your symptoms suddenly get worse.  

  • You develop abdominal pain.  

  • You develop bruising or bleeding problems.  

  • You develop a severe headache.