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Spotlight Series on Hepatitis C

"Ask the Experts": Can Pregnant Women Living With Hepatitis C Prevent Transmission to Their Baby?

The following is a physician-patient interaction that took place within TheBody.com's "Ask the Experts" forum on hepatitis.

HCV congenital transmission probability
Dec 31, 2013

Hi Dr. Taylor,

I was wondering if it is always the case that if the mother has HCV then she will automatically pass it on to the baby or is it not always 100% transmissible? Does HCV genotype have anything to do with likelihood of passing on the virus?

Response from Dr. Taylor

Good news here! In most cases, a woman with chronic hepatitis C does NOT pass the infection on to her baby. Overall the rate of passing on hep C to our babies is 3% - 5% or so. The genotype has no bearing on passage to a developing fetus. Being infected with HIV and using injection drugs during pregnancy increase the chance of passing along the hep C.

C-section is not recommended to decrease passage of hep C. Breastfeeding does not pass hep C and should be encouraged unless there is dual infection with HIV.

Return to our full listing of answers to patients' frequently asked questions regarding hepatitis C transmission, testing, management and treatment.





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