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Br J Obstet Gynaecol. 1996 Apr;103(4):325-9.

Hepatitis C virus infection in pregnancy.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Institute of Internal Medicine, University of Padova, Italy.



To evaluate the clinical aspects of hepatitis C virus (HCV) liver disease in anti-HCV+ve mothers, both during pregnancy and six months after delivery, and to assess the outcome of pregnancy.


Obstetric department for high risk pregnancies of the University of Padova, Italy.


Seventeen hundred consecutive pregnant women were studied.


Each woman underwent the following: 1. serological screening for hepatitis surface antigen (HBsAg), antibodies to HCV (anti-HCV), antibodies to human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV1) within the first trimester of pregnancy; and 2. clinico-biochemical assessment in order to ascertain previous or active liver disease and risk factors for viral infections.


Twenty-nine (1.7%) of the 1700 women were found anti-HCV positive. Eight of them had an associated positivity for HIV infection. HCV-RNA was positive in 64.2% of anti-HCV positive women. Liver function tests (included transaminases) were within the normal range in 27 mothers (both during and six months after delivery). Only 2/29 women had a slight increase in AST/ALT; liver biopsy in these cases was compatible with mild chronic active chronic active hepatitis. In all women the outcome of pregnancy was favourable (12/29 anti-HCV positive mothers underwent caesarean delivery for causes independent from HCV infection).


A substantial proportion of anti-HCV positive pregnant mothers, even if asymptomatic, have circulating HCV-RNA. The pregnancy does not induce a deterioration of liver disease, and vice versa, HCV infection does not increase the risk of obstetric complications.

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