Hepatitis A (and the vaccine) in Pregnancy

Hepatitis A (and the vaccine) in Pregnancy

Viral hepatitis is a common infection encountered in pregnancy. There are many forms of viral hepatitis, and hepatitis A is one of them.

The hepatitis A virus is spread by poor hygiene through a method called fecal-oral transmission. This basically means that  a person has a bowel movement and may not wash their hands well and then could potentially contact another person by making them food or having close contact with them.1

Fortunately, there is a vaccine available for hepatitis A and it can be given during pregnancy.

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says the vaccine can be considered in pregnancy and risks of the vaccine should be weighed against the risk of developing Hepatitis A in pregnancy.2 The safety of this particular vaccine has not been determined in pregnancy; however, it is an inactivated virus so the theoretical risk to the fetus is low.

There is a risk of preterm labor and delivery if a patient becomes severely infected. Talk about your concerns with your OB/GYN so that he or she can help you determine if the hepatitis A vaccine is right for you. Your doctor will discuss your personal risk factors, such as living in an area during an outbreak.

For more information or to talk with one of our OB/GYNs, call Marshall Obstetrics & Gynecology at 304-691-1400.

References

  1. Fiore AE. Hepatitis A transmitted by food. Clin Infect Dis 2004;38:705–15. (Level III)
  2. General recommendations on immunization: recommendations of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP). MMWR 2011; 60 (No. 2): 26.
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Kelly Cummings, MD, FACOG

Dr. Cummings is a board-certified, fellowship-trained maternal-fetal medicine specialist, meaning she is experienced caring for women with high-risk pregnancies. Dr. Cummings is an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine.

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