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My Story: Pregnant with Hepatitis C

Pregnancy is tough, but add hepatitis C and it becomes nerve-wracking. What should've been an amazing-ish 9 months became a worrisome experience. I was pregnant at 27, three years after my hep C diagnosis. Because I contracted the disease via vertical transmission (from my mom), all I could think about was passing it to my daughter. For some reason, I assumed my doctors would've have considered me a high-risk pregnancy. However, I was wrong. I didn't have any special diet or any additional testing aside from an AST/ALT blood test in my first trimester.

Always question the doctors!

My OB/GYN and PCP got questioned all the time. "Will my daughter contract this? Is she going to be immediately tested? Will this allow me to finally get treatment? Is my liver going to worsen? What if she gets it? Will my liver takes a turn for the worst? Is this brain fog or pregnancy brain?" The gave me one answer: "She'll get tested at 18months, so stop worrying." How could I stop worrying? I'm growing this person in my body that housed the "silent killer". Luckily, my daughter was negative, but my questions remained unanswered.

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Pregnant again...

Fast forward a year and some change, BOOM, I'm pregnant again. This time around, I assumed again I'd be considered high-risk because of hep C. Sadly, again I wasn't. I took an additional AST/ALT blood test again and that was it. No conversation about the second child being more susceptible to contracting it. Not even a recommendation for better foods to eat to make sure my liver didn't deteriorate anymore during this pregnancy. My expectations were high, and yet again, the doctors disappointed me.

I continuously reminded the labor & delivery staff during both pregnancies that I had hep C. I said, "Please wear gloves, use clean needles, and dispose of them properly". I didn't want empathy, sympathy, or a pity party. They needed to be aware of the disease and the importance of not accidentally contracting or spreading it.

What to expect when you're expecting

Jaundice, fatty liver, elevated liver enzymes can all occur while pregnant. Don't expect the worst to happen, just remember to be aware of your body. What I've learned during two hep C pregnancies is to be your own advocate. Don't stop asking questions. Be your child's advocate. Yes, we all know sometimes there are no signs of hep C for years, but pregnancy can affect your liver and vice versa.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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