Hepatitis Foundation International

Home » General Health » Hepatitis B Vaccine During Pregnancy – Is It Safe And When Should You Get It?

Hepatitis B Vaccine During Pregnancy – Is It Safe And When Should You Get It?


The hepatitis B vaccine provides protection against the hepatitis B virus (HBV) which can cause serious liver infection and damage. Pregnancy comes with unique medication considerations, so let’s take an evidence-based look at hepatitis B vaccination during pregnancy.

Overview Of Hepatitis B 

Hepatitis B is a viral infection transmitted through contact with infected blood or body fluids. It can cause acute illness with fatigue, fever, and jaundice, or progress to chronic hepatitis B with ongoing liver inflammation that can lead to fibrosis, cirrhosis, liver failure and liver cancer.

Hepatitis B 

Around 2 billion people worldwide show evidence of past or current HBV infection. The CDC estimates about 850,000 people in the United States have chronic hepatitis B. Vaccination helps prevent hepatitis B infection and its potentially serious complications.

The Hepatitis B Vaccine

The hepatitis B vaccine contains recombinant HBV surface antigen proteins that stimulate protective antibody production without the risk of contracting actual HBV infection. The standard regimen is 3 doses over 6 months, providing over 90% immunity.

Routine childhood vaccination has dramatically reduced hepatitis B rates. The CDC recommends the vaccine for all children beginning at birth, teens, high-risk adults, and pregnant women. Boosters may be needed depending on antibody levels.

Safety In Pregnancy

No evidence indicates the hepatitis B vaccine causes harm to pregnant women or the developing baby. The vaccine contains non-infectious HBV surface proteins only. Leading health organizations consider it safe during pregnancy.

Clinical trials found similar rates of adverse effects in vaccinated pregnant women compared to placebo. No differences occurred in miscarriage rates, birth defects, preterm delivery, or infant growth between groups.

Benefits In Pregnancy

Vaccinating susceptible pregnant women provides critical protection for both mother and newborn against hepatitis B infection.

At birth, an infected mother can transmit HBV to her baby. This causes a 90% chance of developing chronic hepatitis B with lifelong risks. Vaccinating moms prevents hepatitis B transmission during the birth process.

Recommended Timing

The CDC advises:

– If not vaccinated prior, pregnant women should receive dose #1 of hepatitis B vaccine during their pregnancy 

– Remaining doses are completed after giving birth

– Test for hepatitis B immunity during early pregnancy to assess need

– Vaccinate babies at birth if mom tests positive for hepatitis B 

Ideally, women are vaccinated before becoming pregnant. But getting dose #1 during pregnancy protects vulnerable newborns.

No Risk of Miscarriage 

Some online claims wrongly assert the hepatitis B vaccine increases miscarriage risk. Multiple large scientific studies found zero difference in miscarriage rates between vaccinated and unvaccinated pregnant women. 

Most miscarriages occur within the first trimester. The immune-stimulating effects of vaccination do not heighten miscarriage risk. The CDC concludes no scientific evidence links the hepatitis B vaccine to miscarriage.

No Added Risks for Baby

False claims about developmental problems, birth defects, or harm to the fetus from a mom’s hepatitis B vaccination all lack scientific validation. 

The vaccine does not cross the placenta and contains no live virus, thereby posing no risks. Extensive research affirms its safety for babies of vaccinated pregnant women.


The hepatitis B vaccine is strongly recommended during pregnancy to prevent HBV infection in newborns. Current evidence overwhelmingly confirms its safety and efficacy. 

Vaccinating susceptible pregnant women causes no increased risks of miscarriage, birth defects, preterm birth, or other problems. It provides monumental protection against the baby acquiring chronic hepatitis B at birth. Discuss the vaccine with your doctor for optimal health for you and your baby.


1. When do you get the hepatitis B vaccine when pregnant?

The CDC recommends pregnant women get dose #1 during pregnancy. Remaining doses come after delivery. Get vaccinated if not immune.

2. Does the hepatitis B vaccine have side effects?

Most people have no issues. Possible mild side effects include soreness at injection site, headache, fatigue, muscle aches, fever. These resolve quickly.

3. Can the hepatitis B vaccine be given in early pregnancy?

Yes, dose #1 can be safely given any time during pregnancy to protect the newborn. The vaccine does not increase risk of birth defects or miscarriage.

4. Why is hepatitis B vaccine important in pregnancy?

It helps prevent the mother from transmitting the hepatitis B virus to her baby during childbirth. Hepatitis B infection in infants often becomes chronic.

5. Is hepatitis B vaccine mandatory during pregnancy?

Some countries mandate it, but in the US it is recommended. Discuss your immunity status and options with your doctor during pregnancy.

Dr. Harold Gojiberry is not just your ordinary General Practitioner; he is a compassionate healthcare provider with a deep commitment to patient well-being and a passion for literature. With extensive medical knowledge and experience, Dr. Gojiberry has made a significant impact in the field of healthcare, particularly in the area of liver diseases and viral hepatitis.

Leave a Comment