What Happens To Untreated Cholestasis Of Pregnancy & When To Go To Doctor?

Cholestasis also is known as intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, or ICP is the most common liver condition that slows down the normal flow of bile into the gallbladder, resulting in a buildup of bile acids in the liver — which in turn spills into the bloodstream, and leading to intense itching.

In general, warning signs begin after 25 weeks of your gestation, when the hormone levels are at their peak. In rare instances, it can start earlier in pregnancy. However, it disappears within a few days after the baby is born. But the condition left untreated causes serious complications to the fetus.

What Happens To Untreated Cholestasis Of Pregnancy?

Cholestasis of pregnancy is a hypothetically severe liver disorder that triggers sudden, intense itching. Though cholestasis of pregnancy is typically non-threatening to the momma, it is evident that the risk of fetal impediments meconium-stained in pregnancies affected by cholestasis of pregnancy. These include increased risks of Stillbirth amniotic fluid, preterm delivery, fetal distress and intrauterine fetal demise.

If you have cholestasis of pregnancy, you and your baby are at increased risk of having of complications and the condition left untreated leads to

  • Premature birth
  • Fetal Distress (an uncommon complication of labor when the fetus has not been receiving enough oxygen.)
  • Stillbirth
  • Respiratory distress syndrome (breathing disorder that affects newborns when the baby is born prematurely before 37 weeks of pregnancy)
  • Postpartum hemorrhage (when a woman has heavy bleeding after giving birth. It is a serious but rare condition.)1, 2

When To Go To The Doctor For Cholestasis Of Pregnancy?

Call your pregnancy care provider if you have any of the below symptoms of cholestasis of pregnancy:

Intense Itchiness- While most itching during pregnancy is very normal and not a reason for concern, more severe itching may indicate an underlying liver condition. Slight itching is common in gestation because of the enhanced blood circulation to the skin, but if the itching becomes intense it can be an indication of liver disease.

Such itching may worsen at night but is not typically accompanied by a rash. Most women feel itchy on the palms of their hands or the soles of their feet, but some females experience itchiness on several parts of their bodies. The itching is often worse at night and maybe so bothersome that you can’t sleep. When your itching is very intense, your health care provides might provide suitable drugs or suggest alternative treatment to soothe the condition. However, it is best to check with your doctor before taking any medications

Lack Of Appetite Or Having The Sensation Of Fullness- Loss of appetite often comes hand-in-hand with morning sickness, and nausea and vomiting affect an estimated 75 percent of pregnant women. Many women find they have reduced appetite during pregnancy. One reason is the pressure of the growing fetus on your abdomen. There’s simply less room for food. Another reason is increasing hormones especially estrogen and HCG.3, 4

Jaundice- Acute viral hepatitis is the most common cause of jaundice in pregnancy, with an incidence of approximately 1 to 2 per 1000. Jaundice in pregnancy, although not a common disease, still has hypothetically serious consequences for parental and baby’s health. When you have the following symptoms during pregnancy, this may indicate the presence of jaundice

  1. Dark urine
  2. Changes in the color of the feces
  3. Color of the eyes, tongue, and skin shows a yellowish or orangey tinge.

When you are pregnant, it is normal to experience a few (or a lot) of new and odd symptoms. But, if you feel that your symptoms are intense, do not delay in seeking recommendations with your pregnancy care provider.5

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