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01.12.2017 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2017 Open Access

BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth 1/2017

Cesarean section to prevent mother-to-child transmission of hepatitis B virus in China: A meta-analysis

BMC Pregnancy and Childbirth > Ausgabe 1/2017
Mei Yang, Qin Qin, Qiong Fang, Lixin Jiang, Shaofa Nie



Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is predominantly transmitted through mother-to-child transmission (MTCT). To date, it remains unclear whether the method of parturition affects MTCT of HBV. In order to clarify whether cesarean section, when compared with vaginal delivery, could reduce the risk of MTCT of HBV in China, we conducted this meta-analysis.


A systematic literature search was performed of the PubMed (Medline), Embase, ISI Web of Science, China Biological Medicine Database, China National Knowledge Infrastructure, and VIP Database for Chinese Technical Periodicals databases for articles written in English or Chinese through July 2015.The reference lists of relevant articles were also scrutinized for additional papers. Randomized controlled trials, cohort studies, or case-control studies investigating the effect of delivery mode on MTCT of HBV were included.


This analysis involved 28 articles containing 30 datasets. The data encompassed 9906 participants. The MTCT rate of HBV was 6.76% (670 of 9906) overall, with individual rates of 4.37% (223 of 5105) for mothers who underwent cesarean section and 9.31% (447 of 4801) for those who underwent vaginal delivery. The summary relative risk (RR) was 0.51 (95%CI: 0.44–0.60, P < 0.001), indicating a statistically significant decrease in HBV vertical transmission via cesarean section compared with vaginal delivery. The heterogeneity among studies was moderate with an I 2 of29.3%.Publication bias was not detected by the Egger’s and Begg’s tests, and the funnel plot was symmetric. In the subgroup analyses, maternal hepatitis B e antigen status and follow-up time did not affect the significance of the results, but hepatitis B immune globulin (HBIG) administration to mother and infant did.


Cesarean section could reduce the risk of MTCT of HBV in comparison to vaginal delivery in China. However, owing to several limitations of our meta-analysis, future well-designed randomized controlled trials with adequate statistical power, might be a more appropriate next step.
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