Posts Tagged ‘hepatitis B’

Protecting your baby from hepatitis B

Friday, July 28th, 2017

Contemplative woman with babyHepatitis B is a contagious liver disease that is caused by an infection with the hepatitis B virus. “Hepatitis” means inflammation of the liver.

Hepatitis B is a sexually transmitted disease (STD). It spreads through direct contact with infected bodily fluids, like blood, saliva, semen and vaginal fluid. It can spread easily through breaks in the skin or in soft body tissues in the nose, mouth and eyes.

You can get hepatitis B if you:

  • Have unprotected sex with an infected partner.
  • Use street drugs and share needles with an infected person.
  • Share things like razors and toothbrushes with an infected person.
  • Come in contact with blood, open sores or body fluid from an infected person. This may happen if you work in a health care setting, like a hospital, doctor’s office or lab, or if you work in public safety, like as a police officer, firefighter or emergency medical technician (also called EMT).

Hepatitis B is NOT spread through sneezing, coughing, hugging or breastfeeding. Even though the virus can be found in saliva, you can’t get it from kissing or sharing forks, spoons, or knives with someone who’s infected.

If you don’t have hepatitis B, get vaccinated and ask your partner to get vaccinated, too. Vaccination is the best way to prevent hepatitis B.

Hepatitis B and pregnancy

If you have hepatitis B during pregnancy and it’s not treated, you can pass it to your baby. This can happen during a vaginal delivery or a c-section. About 9 out of 10 babies (90 percent) infected at birth develop chronic hepatitis B infection. This infection can cause life-long liver problems for your baby.

Getting tested for hepatitis B is a routine part of prenatal care. Your health care provider will test for hepatitis B and other infections at your first prenatal care checkup.

If you do test positive for hepatitis B, your health care provider may prescribe you an antiviral medication during your pregnancy. And soon after birth, your baby will receive 2 shots:

  • A Hepatitis B vaccination within 24 hours. She will then need two more doses in the first 18 months of life, which she can get through her well-baby checkups.
  • A Hepatitis B immune globulin (also called HBIG) shot within 12 hours of birth. HBIG is a type of antiviral that gives your baby extra help to fight off the infection

These shots help prevent your baby from getting hepatitis B. After your baby receives all of her hepatitis B shots, her health care provider will do a blood test to make sure the treatment worked. The blood test is usually done 1-2 months after the last shot, so make sure to follow up with your baby’s health care provider.

Have questions? Send them AskUs@marchofdimes.org.

Your top STD questions answered

Monday, April 27th, 2015

get tested for STDs1. What is an STD?

A sexually transmitted disease (STD) is an infection that you can get from having sex with someone who is infected. About 19 million people get an STD each year in the US. Some common STDs are genital wartsgenital herpes, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and hepatitis B.

2. What’s the big deal?

STDs can cause problems if you are trying to get pregnant. If you are already pregnant, STDs can be harmful to you and your baby. Your baby can get infected while passing through the birth canal during labor and delivery. Some STDs can cross the placenta and infect your baby in the womb. Having an STD can complicate your pregnancy and have serious effects on your baby, which may be seen at birth or may not be discovered until months or years later.

3. How do you know if you have an STD?

Many people with an STD don’t know they’re infected because some STDs have no symptoms. If you are not yet pregnant, ask your provider to test you. Most problems during pregnancy and in your developing baby can be prevented be receiving testing and treatment and going to all of your prenatal care appointments.

4. How will an STD affect your unborn baby?

STDs may cause problems during pregnancy, including premature birth,  premature rupture of the membranes (PROM), ectopic pregnancy, birth defectsmiscarriage or stillbirth.

5. How can you protect yourself and your baby?

Whether you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk to your health care provider about getting tested for STDs. If you find out you have an STD, get treatment right away. Receiving treatment can help protect you and your baby during pregnancy and birth.

You can also receive certain vaccines, such as the HPV vaccine, which can help protect against genital warts. You can get the HPV vaccine up until age 26.

The best way to prevent yourself from getting an STD is by not having sex; however if you do, have sex with only one partner who doesn’t have sex with others. Use a condom if you’re not sure if your partner has an STD or ask your partner to get tested and treated for STDs.

Can I get a tattoo if I’m hoping to get pregnant soon?

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

My daughter, daughter-in-law and step-daughter all have tattoos, so I thought I’d pass along some info on the subject in case you’re thinking about getting one, too.

Because there are several concerns about tattoos during pregnancy, it’s probably best to wait until after delivery. If you do want a tattoo, be aware of a few important issues.

We don’t know if tattoo dyes and inks affect a developing baby. The first three months of pregnancy are especially important. This is the time when the organs, bones, nerves, muscles—pretty much everything—are developing. At the end of the first trimester, the fetus is only about 3 inches long and weighs 1 ounce. (It’s only as heavy as five quarters.)

Amounts of chemicals that might be small and harmless to an adult can have a much bigger impact on a tiny fetus. So if you’re about to get a tattoo, postpone your pregnancy attempts to a month or so after you lay in the artwork.  If you are already pregnant, wait at least until the second trimester.

Hepatitis B and HIV/AIDS are two of many diseases that may be passed along by a dirty needle. If you should catch one of these infections it would be lousy for you, but you could pass it on to your baby, too.  You want to be really sure your tattoo artist is following safety precautions.

During labor, an epidural is a shot given in the lower back to help block the pain of childbirth. Most health care providers will give an epidural to a woman with a tattoo on her lower back. But they may not if the tattoo is recent and still fresh.  There is no clear evidence for or against giving epidurals near tattoos. If you do have a back tattoo, find out the hospital’s policy on epidurals in advance.

I never thought about getting a tattoo, but I must say the ones my girls have are really pretty.