The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine recently issued its first-ever recommendations for pregnant women with hepatitis C — a segment of population that data suggest impacts 4% of pregnant women in the United States.
“Hepatitis C is an important public health concern for pregnant women,” Brenna L. Hughes, MD, MSc, an author of the recommendations, told Healio Family Medicine.
“We wanted to bring attention to the current recommendations for screening women in pregnancy,” Hughes, who is also the director of the maternal fetal medicine fellowship at the Duke University School of Medicine, continued. “Ideally women can be cured of hepatitis C prior to achieving pregnancy, but for those who come into pregnancy with the infection, we wanted to review and promote best practices.”
Note: The article states “Treat HCV in the postpartum period. HCV positive women can breastfeed.” But to be clear – women should not breastfeed if her nipples are not crack and bleeding. Alan
Hepatitis C (HCV) during pregnancy is associated with serious, adverse outcomes. Infants born to women with HCV are more likely to experience fetal growth restriction and low birth weight. For women, chronic HCV is associated with progressive liver damage and, during pregnancy, can be transmitted from the mother to the fetus (called vertical transmission).
Highly effective treatments for HCV now exist, but none are currently approved for use during pregnancy. Yet, up to 8% of pregnant women worldwide are infected with HCV.
The Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) today released new clinical guidance regarding HCV in pregnancy entitled, “SMFM Consult Series #43: Hepatitis C in pregnancy: screening, treatment, and management.” The recommendations are currently available on the SMFM website, will be published in the November issue American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and are endorsed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
Women with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) have fewer live births and face a higher risk of miscarriage, infertility, gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia during pregnancy, researchers in Italy have found.
HCV-positive women of childbearing age undergo premature ovarian deterioration, researchers wrote. This decline in the function of the ovaries appears to cause the other pregnancy-related issues, which can also include low birth weight for the baby.
However, in an optimistic discovery, the study suggests that successfully curing women with HCV lowered their miscarriage rate.
Hepatitis C is a silent killer, and it has a new target: pregnant women. In just five years, the number of new hepatitis C infections nearly doubled among pregnant women. At blame most likely is the opioid epidemic.
The steep increase in infections occurred between 2009 and 2014, according to a new study from the Tennessee Department of Health that was released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rural areas such as Appalachia were among the hardest hit, and that corresponds with where the epidemics of heroin and prescription drug addiction are occurring.
An estimated 3.5 million people are living with hepatitis C, making it the country’s most common blood-borne infection. Injection drug use is the main risk factor for hepatitis C infection.