Hepatitis C occurs when the liver gets inflamed due to infected blood or body liquid transfusion of any sort. It is known to be more prevalent in Africa, South America, Southern and Eastern Europe, Asia, Middle East and the Caribbean. Hepatitis C is a disease which is not easily detected in the early stages since this virus can be present in the body for years and it can affect the liver silently, finally causing liver cirrhosis or liver cancer.
Pregnancy is a delicate stage for a woman and having Hepatitis C during this time can bring out a lot of questions. We have listed out below some of these questions and answers that can help you.
How to confirm if you have Hepatitis C?
The best way to check this is to get a blood test done. This is however not one of the common tests done for pregnant women. Hence, if you suspect Hepatitis C for some reason then ask for your physician for it.
What could be the possible symptoms of having Hepatitis C?
Usually some of the symptoms you may feel can be fatigue, muscle pain, nausea, pain in the liver, lack of concentration, depression etc. Sometimes your skin may turn yellow due to jaundice.
How does having Hepatitis C affect your baby and the Pregnancy?
Although there are still researches going on for this question, it is understood that babies born in such a condition are usually low in weight and could be premature.
It is also found that the mother in such cases may contact gestational diabetes.
Can your baby contact Hepatitis C from you during pregnancy or delivery?
The good news is that there are very remote chances for your baby to contact the Hepatitis C from you while you are pregnant or during the delivery process. However, it is always better to get your baby checked after a year. If the baby does have Hepatitis C, get a proper treatment from a child doctor.
Is breast feeding safe for your baby if you have Hepatitis C?
Usually breastfeeding is also considered safe, but if you are on any sort of medication the doctor might advise you not to breastfeed as the medicines may get passed on to the baby.
Is it possible to be treated for Hepatitis C during pregnancy?
It is not considered safe to undergo treatment for Hepatitis C during pregnancy as most of the drugs like Pegylated Interferon, Ribaviri, Oceprevir and Telaprevir that are used to treat Hepatitis C are not safe for the baby. They may cause some serious birth defects to the baby and can even be fatal. So, it may be best to start the treatment for Hepatitis C after you have completed your pregnancy.
If you are undergoing Hepatitis C treatment, can you try for pregnancy?
In such cases, it is advisable to go for contraception as it is better to avoid the risk of having a baby with birth defects. You can try for pregnancy after 6 months of completing the Hepatitis C treatment.