Chronic hepatitis C in pregnancy

Obstet Gynecol. 2008 Aug;112(2 Pt 1):304-10. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e318180a4f3.


Objective: To estimate outcomes, to determine whether appropriate follow-up was performed for pregnant patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV), and to show that maternal and neonatal complications would be higher in the HCV-positive group.

Methods: We compared pregnant women from a drug dependence and treatment program who were HCV antibody-positive with those who were HCV antibody-negative using the University of New Mexico Perinatal Database. Maternal and neonatal outcomes were evaluated, including cholestasis of pregnancy, preterm birth, low birth weight, neonatal intensive care unit admissions, and neonatal methadone withdrawal. Variables were compared using Student t, Fisher exact, and chi(2) tests.

Results: Among 351 pregnancies between January 2000 and 2006, 159 (53%) were HCV antibody reactive, 141 (47%) tested nonreactive, and 51 (15%) were not screened. Hepatitis C reactivity was more common among Hispanics. Cholestasis of pregnancy was increased in HCV antibody reactive (Ab+) pregnancies (10 of 159, 6.3% compared with 0 of 141, P=.002). Among women taking methadone, there was a significantly higher incidence of neonatal withdrawal (P=.001). This was significant in mothers on low (0-30 mg) and moderate (31-90 mg) methadone doses. Despite the high cure rate with intensive therapy, only 5.7% of HCV Ab+ mothers and 1.9% of their neonates received gastroenterology referrals.

Conclusion: In pregnant women involved in this drug treatment program, HCV reactivity was associated with Hispanic ethnicity, cholestasis of pregnancy, and increased neonatal methadone withdrawal regardless of maternal methadone dose. Gastroenterology consultation was inadequate.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cholestasis / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Female
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / complications*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Methadone / adverse effects
  • Narcotics / adverse effects
  • Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome / epidemiology
  • New Mexico / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / epidemiology
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology*
  • Pregnancy Outcome / epidemiology*
  • Substance-Related Disorders / epidemiology*


  • Narcotics
  • Methadone