Department of Infectious Diseases, Prince of Wales Hospital, Sydney, Australia; Prince of Wales Clinical School, UNSW, Sydney, Australia.
Mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis C virus infection occurs in a significant minority of cases and the diagnosis, treatment and cure of hepatitis C virus infection with direct acting antivirals prior to pregnancy can eliminate this risk in almost all cases. Women with hepatitis C virus infection have increased risks of adverse events in pregnancy and poor perinatal outcomes for their children, although the contribution of hepatitis C virus per se is difficult to determine. Altering the mode of delivery does not reduce mother to child transmission of hepatitis C virus infection, although avoidance of fetal scalp electrodes and other potential high risk procedures is recommended during pregnancy and delivery. Breast feeding has not been demonstrated to be a risk for mother-to-child transmission and avoidance of breast feeding is not recommended, although breast feeding with cracked or bleeding nipples is generally avoided. Safety of the currently available hepatitis C virus antivirals in pregnancy and breastfeeding has not yet been established.