Guglielmo Borgia, Maria Aurora Carleo, Ivan Gentile, Department of Public Medicine and Social Security, Section of Infectious Diseases, University of Naples "Federico II", 80131 Naples, Italy.
Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection affects about 350 million individuals worldwide. Management of HBV infection in pregnancy is difficult because of several peculiar and somewhat controversial aspects. The aim of the present review is to provide a tool that may help physicians to correctly manage HBV infection in pregnancy. This review focuses on (1) the effect of pregnancy on HBV infection and of HBV infection on pregnancy; (2) the potential viral transmission from mother to newborn despite at-birth prophylaxis with immunoglobulin and vaccine; (3) possible prevention of mother-to-child transmission through antiviral drugs, the type of antiviral drug to use considering their efficacy and potential teratogenic effect, and the timing of their administration and discontinuation; and (4) the evidence for the use of elective caesarean section vs vaginal delivery and the possibility of breastfeeding.