Cholestasis refers to a liver disease and it takes place whenever the bile flow from the liver of a person is blocked or reduced. Bile refers o a fluid produced by one’s liver and it helps in quick digestion of fats and other food components. If an alteration in the flow of bile takes place, it results in the formation of bilirubin i.e. a pigment produced by the liver and excreted via bile from a woman’s body.
How Dangerous Is Cholestasis Of Pregnancy?
Cholestasis of pregnancy may sometimes become serious for both baby and mother. Especially, both have an increased risk related to various complications, like-
Premature Birth: Premature birth implies that the birth of the baby takes place early i.e. before the 37th week of one’s pregnancy. Babies born early often have health issues or require staying in the hospital for relatively more time than those born later.
Fetal Distress: Fetal distress takes place whenever the baby fails to get enough oxygen while it stays in the mother’s womb. Major signs and symptoms related to fetal distress are reductions of fetal movement when the baby moves a relatively less than normal situation. Also, the baby experiences changes in its heart rate or passes meconium. Here, meconium refers to the first bowel movement of a baby. A newborn baby passes meconium after its birth. However, in the case of fetal distress, the baby passes meconium within the amniotic fluid, which surrounds it within the womb before or at the time of labor.
Meconium Aspiration: Meconium aspiration takes place whenever the baby experiences breathing problems, i.e. he breathes by surrounding meconium in the amniotic fluid. If the baby breathes in meconium at the time of birth, it leads to blockage in the baby’s airways.
Stillbirth: Stillbirth condition takes place when the death of a baby takes place in the mother’s womb after completing 20 weeks of pregnancy.
RDS i.e. Respiratory Distress Syndrome: RDS refers to a breathing problem, which takes place in newborns, who have underdeveloped lungs. Babies suffering from RDS do not have surfactant in enough amount. Here, surfactant refers to a slippery substance and it helps the baby’s lungs to fill the air and retains the sacs of small air within the lungs to prevent it from collapse. RDS problem is common among premature babies or infants.
Postpartum Hemorrhage: Postpartum hemorrhage refers to the condition of heavy bleeding experienced by a woman after giving birth. This is a serious condition but takes place in rare cases.(1)
In most of the cases, obstetric cholestasis problem cures or resolves automatically after delivery. However, the condition may affect your long-term health. According to the relevant research studies, women with cholestasis at the time of pregnancy had more than 3 times risk related to suffering from liver cancer in later years of their lives than other women during the pregnancy period. Major risks are thyroid problems, Crohn’s disease, diabetes, and biliary system cancer.(2)
Is Cholestasis Of Pregnancy Contagious?
Cholestasis of pregnancy is not a contagious problem. However, doctors have perceived it as a genetic condition, as genes of an unborn child’s mother play a prime role. In some cases, the problem continues in other family members and leads to the identification of specific genetic variants. Also, cholestasis of pregnancy is a hormonal disorder, as pregnancy hormones rise close to your delivery date. The rise in pregnancy hormones slows down the regular flow of the bile fluid produced in one’s liver to help in breaking down the fat components within the digestive system. Bile starts forming within the organ instead of leaving from the liver. This leads to the eventual entry of bile salts within the bloodstream and forces you to feel itchy.(3)
To conclude, we should say that cholestasis of pregnancy if left untreated may become dangerous and life-threatening for both the mother and the baby. However, the positive thing is that the disease is not a contagious one, but is a type of hormonal disorder and a genetic disorder.
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- What Happens To Untreated Cholestasis Of Pregnancy & When To Go To Doctor?
- What To Eat & Avoid When You Have Cholestasis Of Pregnancy?
- How Do You Know If You Have Cholestasis Of Pregnancy & How Early Can You Get It In Pregnancy?
- Is Cholestasis Of Pregnancy Dangerous & How Does It Affect The Baby?
- Is Delivery By 37 Weeks Necessary For Cholestasis Of Pregnancy?