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Hepatitis C virus hepatitis and pregnancy

Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

Authoring team

  • mother to baby transmission does occur in women who are hepatitis C virus (HCV) and PCR positive, either in utero or at the time of birth, but appears to be uncommon, with upper estimates of 6% across the UK
    • seems to be no reduction if caesarean section is performed
    • transmission does not occur if the woman is HCV RNA negative
    • transmission is increased to around 15 to 20% when there is co-infection with HIV
    • there is no association proven between breastfeeding and transmission of hepatitis C infection and mothers with only this infection should not be advised against breastfeeding
  • in children born to women infected with HCV, an HCV antibody test should be performed at 12 months of age or thereafter to identify the majority of children who are not infected
  • in children whose mothers are co-infected with HIV, and in infants found to be HCV antibody positive after 12 months, an HCV RNA test should be performed, and if positive, confirmed on a second sample. If information regarding the risk of HCV infection in an individual child is required before 12 months of age, an HCV RNA test and retest can be performed after two months of age. Further testing is still required to make a definitive diagnosis




  1. RCGP (2007).Guidance for the prevention, testing, treatment and management of hepatitis C in primary care.

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