Testing – Mothers and Children
I’m a mother with hepatitis B. Should I get my child tested?
If you had a child whilst infected with hepatitis B and your child is now a year old, then you should talk to your doctor about getting your child tested. There is a high risk of the virus being passed on during delivery of the baby. If you are diagnosed with hepatitis B before giving birth your child will be vaccinated at birth.
It is also the case that the younger a person is infected with the hepatitis B virus, the more likely it is that they will go on to become chronically infected. 9 out of 10 babies infected at birth will go on to develop chronic hepatitis B infections. This compares with 1 out of ten people infected during adulthood.
Feelings of fear or guilt are understandable, but don't let that put you off. Finding out whether your child may have picked up the virus can only help.
I’m pregnant. Should I get tested?
Since April 2000 all pregnant women in the UK have been tested for hepatitis B. Therefore if you fall pregnant you will be offered a test. This means that even if the test is positive, doctors can take steps to reduce the chances of you passing the infection onto your baby during birth.
Children born to mothers who have previously injected drugs should be vaccinated at birth.
If you are a foster parent it is recommended that you get the hepatitis B vaccination.