Cholestasis Of Pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) is a condition that occurs when bile flow from the liver is disrupted, causing the build-up of bile acids in the bloodstream. This affects pregnant women during the second half of their pregnancy and can cause serious complications for the mother and baby. It is important to become familiar with the symptoms of ICP in order to receive diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. This blog post will explore the possible symptoms of ICP, as well as the ways to reduce the risk of developing ICP during pregnancy. By understanding the signs of ICP, pregnant women can be proactive in their health and have the best possible outcome for their pregnancy.

What complications are associated with cholestasis of pregnancy?

Cholestasis of pregnancy may cause complications. Vitamin K absorption issues could increase your risk of hemorrhage (severe internal bleeding). It’s also associated with preeclampsia and gestational diabetes.

Fetal complications related to cholestasis of pregnancy include:

Your obstetrician might deliver your child earlier than planned to reduce the likelihood of these complications.

What are the risk factors for cholestasis of pregnancy?

You have a greater chance of getting pregnancy-related cholestasis if you:

  • Have a family member with the condition.
  • Had ICP before.
  • Are pregnant with twins, triplets or more.
  • Have a history of liver disease or hepatitis C.
  • Have a history of liver damage.
  • Have a genetic condition that affects how your body makes and uses bile.
  • What are the symptoms of cholestasis of pregnancy?

    The main symptom of cholestasis of pregnancy is severe itching. This is sometimes called pruritus. It may be all over the body. However, it is more prevalent on the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands. It may also be worse at night. Other symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the belly (abdomen), although this is not common
  • Light color of stool (bowel movements)
  • Yellow color of skin, eyes, and mucous membranes (jaundice), although this is not common
  • The symptoms of cholestasis sometimes look like other health conditions. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.


    At what week does cholestasis start?

    Symptoms of ICP typically start from around 30 weeks of pregnancy, but it’s possible to develop the condition as early as 8 weeks.

    How do you test for intrahepatic cholestasis in pregnancy?

    To diagnose cholestasis of pregnancy, your pregnancy care provider will:
    1. Ask questions about your symptoms and medical history.
    2. Perform a physical exam.
    3. Order blood tests to check how well your liver is working and measure the level of bile salts in your blood.

    What happens to baby if you have cholestasis?

    Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) has important fetal implications. There is increased risk for poor fetal outcomes, including preterm delivery, meconium staining of amniotic fluid, respiratory distress, fetal distress and demise.

    All About Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy

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