Protecting Babies From Hepatitis B Infection

By The Minnesota Department of Health, Immunization

Having a baby is an exciting time for a family. There are many things to prepare and many new things to learn. It can feel overwhelming, but help from family and friends can make things easier.

We want to do everything we can to make sure our baby is happy and healthy when they come home for the first time. Preparing for a new baby starts before they are even born. We prepare the room where they will sleep, install a car seat, and get clothes and other things the baby will need.

Pregnant women also try to eat healthy foods and take vitamins and recommended vaccines so they can avoid getting sick and keep their baby healthy. Some diseases like hepatitis B can be passed from mother to child at birth or from close family members that may care for your baby. Some people do not know they have hepatitis B because they do not feel sick. There is a test to find out if you have hepatitis B and there are ways to prevent passing hepatitis B to your baby.

Hepatitis B is a serious disease that can damage the liver. Babies who get hepatitis B are very likely to have hepatitis B infection for their whole life. The hepatitis B vaccine can prevent hepatitis B infection. Newborn babies can get their first shot of hepatitis B vaccine within 24 hours of birth.

Sometimes parents are worried about how much shots cost. Free or low cost shots are available through the Minnesota Vaccines for Children program. Your doctor can tell you if your child can get free or low cost shots.

More information about hepatitis B and the vaccine that prevents it can be found in the Hepatitis B Vaccine Information Sheet. It is available in many languages on this website: www.immunize.org/VIS.