Hepatitis C Community
13.4k Members
Avatar universal

Pregnancy when mom has cirrhosis

I am new to this board and wondered if anyone could help.  I am Hep C positive. contracted via blood transfusion when I was 7 (early 80s).  I am stage 4, have geno 1 and relapsed off infergen.  Because there are no other treatment options for me at this point, my doc suggested that if I wanted more children which I desperately do, that now would be a good time to consider that option before I get sicker.  My blood work is stable but he wants me to do an endoscopy before I try to conceive to make sure I do not have any signs of portal hypertension to ensure my safety.  I am torn as I did not know I was infected through both my previous pregnancies and now am torn with knowing I could pass this to the baby, and also scared for my health during and after the pregnancy.  I have read an old post where all the moms were told the same thing I have been told and that is to have another baby. That there is a small chance of it passing but that there will be a more effective treatment by the time my baby will be in trouble.  My doc is a top in NYC and my sons doc is top ped gi in NJ so I trust them, yet I am still torn.  
Has anyone had a baby while they were stage 4? I obviously delivered my son while I had cirrhosis, but it was almost 3 years ago. Any info would be much appreciated.
17 Responses
Avatar universal
I don't have any info with Hepatitis C, I have AIH, I'm glad to ear you have healty kids, we want babies you give me a hope, I wish you the best. Contreras
Avatar universal
I am sorry for your dilemna.  Can I ask, are you on a transplant list? Altho it will not cure the hep C, it may buy some time for new treatments.  Have you checked into any studies for relapsers?  There truly are things on the horizon which may benefit you.

Being far beyond the child bearing years, I cannot address your problem, but logically, it does not seem to me that the cirrhosis itself will create a pregnancy problem.  Assumably you have been off the ribavirin for 6 months to even think about conceiving.  I would think the bigger issue is your health and energy level and your ability to care for a baby as well as a 3 year old and another child.  Would you be putting your health at risk?  Would you be putting a burden on other family members to care for your children?  In deciding to have this third child, are you thinking of the benefit of the child - that is you being a resource for the child - or are you thinking of how the child will benefit you?  Sorry about that, I guess that is my ZPG politics coming thru, but I do think you should think about it.  I was an adoptive parent, and was forced into that line of thinking so I do understand it. Best of luck to you in your decision.
Avatar universal
I undestand your feeling for another baby, but we still alive we must to live.
Avatar universal
I completely and totally understand where you are coming from.  It is so difficult to make these kinds of decisions.  The one thing that pushed me into treatment was the desire to have another baby.  
If my treatment does not work, I will still have another baby.  It is my personal opinion, after months of agonizing over this, that their is a reason for everything.  My 2 year old daughter DID get hep c from me, and for quite a while I had a lot of guilt about that.  However, she is a HEALTHY, VIBRANT, BOSSY, SMART 2 year old and I wouldn't change that for ANYTHING in the world.  
It is obviously a very personal decision, but if your health is not at risk by a pregnancy, a child (as you know) is the most amazing blessing you could ask for.  I have a lot of optimism regarding a future treatment that will be much easier on the side effects.  
My daughter sees a top pediatric gastro in Hep C research, and every time we see her she tells me that we have EVERY reason to be optimistic.  
Good luck with your decision and I'd be happy to talk with you more about this.  I don't have personal experience with the cirrohsis issue, but i've never had a biopsy so I really don't know where I stand.  Stick around here, it is a great group of people!
Avatar universal
Apparently I still have a lot of brainfog, that last message was for you NOT to myself.  :)
96938 tn?1189803458
I'm glad you're around to help precious people. And glad that you'll be cured in five and a half months.
Avatar universal
Well you sure know how to make a gal's day!  :)  You are very sweet.  I'm keeping an eye on you.  Are you feeling well?  Ready to enjoy the summer?  Who am I kidding, summer is in full swing where you are.  We are still battling the 50's up here. I hope you are feeling well these days!  When is your appt again?
96938 tn?1189803458
Long weekend at the beach coming up. Kid rules, which means the kids choose stuff to do. Think I have my daughter convinced to feed a sting ray and son to play golf (I'm pretty pursuasive when I let then choose what THEY want to do. Appt 6/8, get files from soon-to-be-former doc tomorrow.  Feel great.
Avatar universal
I think it is important to put those kinds of thoughts out there, regardless of whether people agree with you or not!  
In my opinion it depends on if people are feeling sick with the hep or not and I don't think she mentioned either way.  And, as you mentioned, support system is important!  I would NOT have made it through treatment with a 2 year old if it weren't for my very supportive family.  You made some great points in your post.
Avatar universal
Hi. Best of luck with yor daughter. I have heard that with children you should be very optimistic, even that many can clear on their own. I was dx when my son was 2, think I have had it for about 7 yrs now. I was scared to death waiting and wondering for my son's blood tests results to come back. Luckily, he is HCV-, so no more worry there, just extra precautions at home. I have put off tx, mainly b/c of fear. But, like yourself, I have decided to start tx b/c of my desire to have another child. So good luck, you'll get through it soon and be all better. And hoipefully, I am not far behind you.
Avatar universal
From what you describe, and from what your doctor says, now is your window of opportunity, and it may not knock twice.

To me, your desire to bring someone into this world -- in spite of ongoing health issues -- shows that this new baby to be will be wanted, loved, and cared for. The rest, in my perhaps overly idealistic opinion, is gravy.

As some posters have indicated, treatment can sometimes be very taxing, so a good support system should be in place.

All the best with your endoscophy and if you get a chance, please stop by and let us know how things work out.

-- Jim
Avatar universal
You hit the nail on the head.  This child will be very well loved, wanted, and cared for it sounds like.  That to me is the most important!  Precious, I think it would be good to seek out another opinion or two, but ultimately follow your heart!
Avatar universal
How are you going to take care of a baby while you're sick yourself?  

I have 18 month old twins and I love them dearly but, if I had known what I was going to have to go through to get better, I would have waited before conceiving children.

If you are being considered for a transplant, you are much sicker than I am and you're gonna be sick for a while after your transplant.  I just don't see how you're gonna take care of another life without A LOT of help.

Is that really fair to a newborn baby?  Don't you think having a baby at this point is a little selfish?

I'm sorry.  I'm not trying to be rude but I think some straight talk is in order.  I'm usually one of the first to encourage women with hep c to go ahead and live out their lives but, considering what you've described, I don't think having a baby is right.  Maybe I misunderstand the situation.  

This is just my opinion.  I'm sure others will disagree.
Avatar universal
Thank you all your your advice.  I want to point out that I am not even being evaluated for a transplant yet.  Other than side effects still hanging on from post treatment such as mild fatigue and some dizziness on occasion I feel like I always did.  Now I have been infected since I was 7 so maybe this is not what others feel like maybe I am just used to it.  Also my doctor in NYC IS THE TOP HEP C DOCTOR there is.  So for him to even suggest I get pregnant- believe me he is not taking it lightly which is why he wants the test done.  If I have any signs of varices or portal hypertension then he will advise me not to get pregnant and is putting me back on treatment even though we know it will not work until the new drugs become available.  
I am terrified of all this and believe me terrified that I wont get to see my children grow up but at some point you have to say- gee a perfectly healthy woman could give birth to a baby today and die in a car crash tomorrow.  Yes I have a wonderful husnband and my parents moved across the street while I was on treatment so they are very close now.  
Maybe it is selfish of me to bring a baby into this situation but I don't think that mostly because the child will be loved and cared for no matter what happens.  Yes I want a child desparately but yes I am happy with the two beautiful boys I have.  So really I cant make any decisions until I get my test results back.  I would love more than anything to wait until I clear the virus first, unfortunately that may take a miracle and I may not be able to have a child afterwards even if I do clear the virus because of my liver damage.  He said now is the window of opportunity- the question is do i take it?
Avatar universal
i did the treatment when my kids were 1,3, and 5.  it was hell on earth, not fair to them and my husband was an ass.  we almost got a divorce.  now it is as if that never happened, we are all thriving and happy.  i say wait and see... it is so f-ing hard to do treatment w/ little kids... let alone a new born.  and wouldn't you want to breastfeed?
Avatar universal
I know it is hell, I did treatment twice with a 4 year old and a 11 month old.  My husband was an ass too, but by the time I was on daily infergen and so sick I couldnt move he finally got it and has been super supportive ever since.  Of course I would breastfeed. See, because I am stage 4 I cannot get into the trials with the protease inhibitors.  The doctors think it may be FDA approved by late 2008, which means I have now to get pregnant, have the baby, and breastfeed all before the drug is even available.  This is my doctors thought about my plan of action since two prior attempts to clear the virus failed.
I am scared to pass the virus on to the baby and worries about my health during pregnancy.  That is why I am having the endoscopy done now to see where I stand, if I am getting worse and closet to being evaluated for a liver than I have no choice but to wait and not get pregnant.
Avatar universal
Best of luck with your decision. Thank you for relating your experience for other forum members. I was wondering about your statement that you can't get into the proteus inhibitor trials if you are stage 4. I was unaware of that. Can you point me to a link with that info or do you or anyone reading this know the logic of this? Thanks for any feedback you might have.
Have an Answer?
Top Hepatitis Answerers
317787 tn?1473362051
683231 tn?1467326617
Auburn, WA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Answer a few simple questions about your Hep C treatment journey.

Those who qualify may receive up to $100 for their time.
Explore More In Our Hep C Learning Center
image description
Learn about this treatable virus.
image description
Getting tested for this viral infection.
image description
3 key steps to getting on treatment.
image description
4 steps to getting on therapy.
image description
What you need to know about Hep C drugs.
image description
How the drugs might affect you.
image description
These tips may up your chances of a cure.
Popular Resources
A list of national and international resources and hotlines to help connect you to needed health and medical services.
Here’s how your baby’s growing in your body each week.
These common ADD/ADHD myths could already be hurting your child
This article will tell you more about strength training at home, giving you some options that require little to no equipment.
In You Can Prevent a Stroke, Dr. Joshua Yamamoto and Dr. Kristin Thomas help us understand what we can do to prevent a stroke.
Smoking substitute may not provide such a healthy swap, after all.