Asthma While Pregnant

Cholestasis During Pregnancy – Are You At Risk?

Treating cholestasisIt is not at all uncommon for some women to experience a very severe itching in the last trimester of their pregnancy. In some cases, where the itchiness is not too severe, this is just a result of their skin stretching as their baby grows. However, there is another complication, known as cholestasis, and this is a liver disease that only happens in pregnancy as a result of the high amounts of pregnancy related hormones, which will result in severe itching.

The Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center states that Cholestasis occurs in about 1 out of 1,000 pregnancies – and is more common in Swedish and Chilean ethnic groups, although it is not exclusive to these groups.

What causes Cholestasis?

Bile is produced by the liver and the increased level of pregnancy related hormones can sometimes slow down or even prevent the release of the flow of bile. The slow down or prevention of the release of bile causes a build up of bile acids in the liver which can spill into the bloodstream.

Symptoms of Cholestasis of pregnancy

 Itching, particularly on the hands and feet (often is the only symptom noticed)
 Dark urine color
 Light coloring of bowel movements
 Fatigue or exhaustion
 Loss of appetite

Less common symptoms may also include:

 Upper-Right Quadrant Pain

Am I at risk of developing Cholestasis while pregnant?

You may have a greater chance of developing cholestasis during your pregnancy if

 Women carrying twins or multiples
 Women who have previous liver damage
 Women whose mother or sisters had Cholestasis

How will your baby be affected?

If you are diagnosed with Cholestasis then there are certain risks which are placed on your baby. This is because your developing baby relies on your liver to remove bile acids from the blood, so if the bile is not being removed from the blood efficiently there is a increased level of stress which is placed on your babys liver.

Your baby will be at risk for:

 fetal distress
 preterm birth

If you do have cholestasis your health care provider will monitor you over the course of your pregnancy, and it is not uncommon that labor is induced when your babys lungs have reached maturity.

How is Cholestasis Treated?

The treatment goals for cholestasis of pregnancy are two parts; to relieve the itching and to reduce the impact of the complication on both you and your baby. Common treatment methods include:

 Topical anti-itch medications or medication with corticosteroids
 Medication to decrease the concentration of bile acids
 Cold baths and ice water slow down the flow of blood in the body
 Dexamethansone – which is a steroid which will increases the maturity of your babys lungs
 Vitamin K supplements administered to the mother before delivery and again once the baby is born to prevent intracranial hemorrhaging
 Dandelion Root and Milk Thistle are natural substances that are beneficial to the liver
 Bi-weekly non-stress tests
 Regular blood tests monitoring both bile serum levels and liver function

Treatment for cholestasis needs to be determined by your healthcare provider, and will be determined accroding to:

 Your pregnancy, overall health, and medical history
 The extent of the disease
 Your tolerance of specific medications, procedures, or therapies
 Expectations for the course of the disease
 Your opinion or preference

Treatments that should not be used for Cholestasis include:

 Aveeno and Oatmeal Bath

Asthma While Pregnant