Hepatitis C Positive Babies

There are a large number of children waiting in the foster system for adoption due to their parent’s poor choice to use illegal drugs. As the result of a pregnant mother having used a dirty needle for injecting drugs, her unborn baby may be at risk for contracting diseases like hepatitis. While initially it is difficult to determine whether or not a baby tests positive due to the mother’s antibodies still in its system, it is always better to have some safety measures in place than be sorry. Only about 4% of babies will actually contract hepatitis C from their mother and this typically happens during delivery. Babies can carry a false positive up to eighteen to twenty-four months.

Our oldest son was placed with us with a positive hepatitis C test at the age of thirteen months. The more we learned, the less scared we were about the disease. This is not to suggest we didn’t worry about our son’s future. At the age of eighteen months, our son was retested and found to be negative. Needless to say, it was a huge relief!

During those six months of uncertainty here are some precautions we were advised to take:

  • Wear latex gloves during diaper changes. I liked this anyway because it was easier to deal with the yucky diapers. I would remove my glove while holding the diaper in my same hand and would wrap the latex around the diaper. This made disposal a bit easier.
  • While taking our son to the church nursery, we would remind new workers there to use gloves during diaper changing. Sometimes we’d let them know our son was adopted and we just didn’t know if there were any definite issues. We didn’t feel it was anybody’s business to know exactly what our concern was. The tests were still inconclusive and we didn’t want our son labeled.
  • One of the most difficult things for me was to glove up before treating a bleeding wound. My instinct was to clean the affected area and bandage it up, not grab the gloves.
  • We avoided giving our son anything with acetaminophen in it such as Tylenol because it stores in the liver. Hepatitis can cause serious liver problems. Instead we used ibuprofen which can be found in brands such as Motrin.

Other than these things, we didn’t concern ourselves with too much else. We didn’t share toothbrushes, so that wasn’t ever an issue. Baby drool in and of itself has not been found to spread hepatitis C, so we weren’t worried about that (which was good since our son drooled a lot!). Prior to learning our son was negative for hepatitis C, we found the more information we gathered, the less fearful we were.

For more information and facts on hepatitis C, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Please visit these related blogs:

While Waiting to Adopt

Methamphetamine Exposure in Babies

The Kids Through State Adoptions

Melissa is a Families.com Christian Blogger. Read her blogs at: http://members.families.com/mj7/blog

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