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Acta Obstet Gynecol Scand. 2000 Jul;79(7):543-7.

Obstetric risks and vertical transmission of hepatitis C virus infection in pregnancy.

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Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Ludwig-Maximillians-University, Munich, Germany.



Reports of obstetric complications of mothers infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) are limited and the risk of mother-to-infant transmission varies widely. We assessed the course of pregnancy in HCV-infected women and the rate of vertical transmission.


Between October 1992 and December 1996, 3712 pregnant patients of the university hospital Grosshadern Munich, Germany, were screened for anti-HCV and analyzed for HCV-RNA by polymerase chain reaction. Clinical and biochemical parameters were monitored. Children born to HCV-positive women were followed up at 6, 12 and 18 month intervals and screened for anti-HCV and HCV-RNA.


Thirteen (42%) of 31 anti-HCV positive patients had a cesarean section which was twice the rate of that in the HCV-negative group (p=0.004). None of the cesarean deliveries was due to complications directly caused by HCV infection. Nine (29%) of 31 anti-HCV positive women had preterm delivery compared to 19% in the anti-HCV negative patients, the difference being statistically not significant. Fetal outcome parameters such as APGAR score, umbilical pH and birth weight of HCV infected pregnancies were not impaired. All 29 babies tested for anti-HCV were seropositive after birth. Between 12 and 18 months of age, 10% of the infants still were anti-HCV positive, whereas only one baby was HCV-RNA positive beyond 12 months yielding a vertical transmission rate of 5% among HCV-RNA positive mothers.


Anti-HCV positive pregnancies have an increased risk of cesarean delivery, probably due to the high-risk collective of anti-HCV positive mothers. The mother-to-child transmission rate is low and linked to maternal HCV-RNA positivity.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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