Pregnancy & prenatal testing

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First trimester: hepatitis B and hepatitis C screening

Infection with the hepatitis B or hepatitis C viruses causes an inflammation of the liver. If left untreated, this disease can develop into liver cancer or cause death.

It is recommended that a woman who is thinking of becoming pregnant, or who is already pregnant, have a simple blood test for the hepatitis B and C virus. Extra precautions during delivery can reduce the risk of the baby becoming infected, and the baby of a mother with hepatitis B will also be given immunoglobulin and hepatitis B vaccination after birth to reduce the risk of infection.

A negative test for the virus means either there is no current infection, or there is not yet a sufficient amount of the marker to be detected. If a woman participates in high risk activities that may transmit the hepatitis B virus, such as unprotected sexual contact with a hepatitis B carrier or intravenous drug use, it is recommended that she be retested later.

Related tests: Hepatitis B, hepatitis C