Perinatal Hepatitis B

Hepatitis B infection in a pregnant woman poses a serious risk to her infant at birth.  Infants who become infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV) have a 90% risk for developing chronic HBV infection and a 25% lifetime risk for dying prematurely from cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma.  A key strategy to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HBV is to prevent infants born to HBsAg-positive women from becoming infected.  The Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) recommends post-exposure prophylaxis with hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) and hepatitis B vaccine within 12 hours of birth to all infants born to hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-positive women followed by completion of the hepatitis B vaccine series and post-vaccination serologic testing at 9-12 months of age.  This approach has been shown to be 85%-95% effective in preventing HBV infection.

Preventing perinatal HBV transmission is an integral part of the national strategy to eliminate hepatitis B in the United States. National guidelines call for the following:

  • Universal screening of pregnant women for HBsAg during each pregnancy
  • Screening all HBsAg-positive pregnant women for HBV DNA to guide the use of maternal antiviral therapy during pregnancy. AASLD suggests maternal antiviral therapy when HBV DNA is >200,000 IU/m
  • Case management of HBsAg-positive mothers and their infants
  • Provision of immunoprophylaxis for infants born to infected mothers, including hepatitis B vaccine and hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG)
  • Routine vaccination of all infants with the hepatitis B vaccine series, with the first dose administered within 24 hours of birth

Click on the following links to find audience specific materials about perinatal hepatitis B:

Contact the Georgia Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program:

Phone:  (404) 657-2588

Fax:  (404) 657-2608

Page updated 12/22/2022