How Serious Is the Infection?
Hepatitis B can cause chronic liver infection that ultimately causes the liver to fail. In addition, chronic liver infection can trigger liver cancer. Both liver failure and liver cancer are difficult to treat, and they are almost inevitably fatal. You do not develop any symptoms of liver cancer until the cancer has spread to the lungs or the brain.
These devastating complications of hepatitis B infection do not usually occur until later in life, when the victim has already had the chance of passing the infection to a spouse and children. Unless the chain of infection is interrupted by prevention, hepatitis B is a curse that gets passed on from one generation to the next. Any child born to an infected mother gets a sentence for early demise at birth.
There is a reliable blood test to check for hepatitis B infection, and this test is routinely done in pregnant women. Nevertheless, many women go through pregnancy without prenatal care due to lack of health insurance, and if these women were infected they would unknowingly pass the infection to their babies.