Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HBV is responsible for approximately half of the HBV transmission routes and continues to be a challenging problem worldwide. Even after the development of effective vaccines and clear World Health Organization guidelines toward HBV several decades ago, 1-9% newborns of HBV-carrying mothers still acquire HBV in early life as a result of in utero infection. The prevention of MTCT is of high importance, because chronically infected individuals function as a reserve for sustained HBV transmission, and 25% of them can develop asymptomatic liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. In this article, we review the canonical and novel HBV infection routes/mechanisms, influencing factors, diagnostic criteria, and interruption strategies for HBV MTCT. The preventative strategy of HBV MTCT has evolved from routine postpartum HB immune globulin (HBIG) plus HB vaccine schedules to administration of HBIG or nucleoside analogs during pregnancy and minimizing the exposure of maternal body fluids to the newborn during delivery. © 2014 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.