HBV Infection

Hepatitis B virus infection in a pregnant woman poses a serious risk to her infant at birth. Without postexposure prophylaxis, as many as 90% of infants born to HBV-infected mothers in the United States will become infected with HBV. Subsequently, 90% of those infants develop chronic HBV infection and approximately one-fourth of these infants eventually will die from liver-related complications.  A vaccine for hepatitis B is available, and, during the last 30 years, vaccination has prevented more than half a million U.S. children from acquiring the disease. Although the hepatitis B vaccine successfully prevents infection, women who have had the vaccine for hepatitis B should still get screened during every pregnancy.


Estimated number of women aged 15-44 years with HBV infection1


Estimated number of infants with chronic HBV infection during 20092


Number of infants at risk for hepatitis B during 2017 because they were born to pregnant women with HBV infection3
  1. Estimate represents U.S. civilian, non-institutionalized, household population of women aged 15-44 years and is based on 2013-2018 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data and the average annual population during that time. The estimate meets all criteria established by the National Center for Health Statistics for publication except that the confidence interval width is about 6% larger than the recommended threshold. The number of women with HBV infection at the end of 2015 could be as low as 70,000 or as high as 203,000.
  2. Ko SC, Fan L, Smith, EA, et al. Estimated annual perinatal hepatitis B virus infections in the United States, 2000-2009external icon. J of Ped Infect Dis Soc 2016;5:114–21.
  3. Koneru A, Fenlon N, Schillie S, et al. National Perinatal Hepatitis B Prevention Program: 2009–2017. Pediatrics. 2021;147(3):e20201823
Page last reviewed: September 6, 2022