Department of Clinical Medicine and Surgery, University of Naples "Federico II", Naples, Italy.
More than 240 million people worldwide are chronically infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV). Mother-to-child transmission remains the most important mechanism of infection in countries with a high prevalence of HBV. Universal screening of all pregnant women, at-birth prophylaxis with specific anti-HBV immune globulin, as well as HBV vaccination for newborns of infected mothers are effective in reducing the risk of vertical transmission. However, in cases of a high viral load and hepatitis B e antigen positivity, there is a residual risk of HBV transmission to the newborn despite prophylaxis. This review focuses on the above-indicated strategies and on the efficacy and safety of antiviral drugs administered during the third trimester of pregnancy.