1 Division of Maternal Fetal Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Weill Cornell Medicine, New York, New York.
Recommendations for screening for hepatitis B immunity in pregnancy and vaccinating susceptible women vary among professional societies. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends vaccinating high-risk women for hepatitis B. However, only one fourth of U.S. adults have received a complete hepatitis B vaccination series. Because two thirds of individuals with chronic hepatitis B are unaware of their diagnosis, risk-based screening for immunity followed by vaccination of susceptible women may not identify and protect all women at risk. Acquisition of hepatitis B poses short-term and long-term risks to maternal and fetal health, an outcome that can be prevented by vaccination. Hepatitis B vaccination in pregnancy is safe and efficacious and can be completed during the course of prenatal care. Universal screening for hepatitis B immunity and vaccination of susceptible women in pregnancy should be a priority during prenatal care. Cost-effectiveness studies are needed to validate this approach.