When you're pregnant, be prepared for significant changes in your body. Though most of these are normal changes caused by your shifting hormones and growing stomach, there are some changes that warrant a call to your OBGYN. If you suddenly experience significant itchiness, especially on your hands and feet, this may be a sign of cholestasis.
What Is Cholestasis?
Cholestasis is a condition that prevents the normal flow of bile from the liver.
Though the exact cause of cholestasis is not known, it is theorized that hormonal shifts are in part to blame. The additional hormones during pregnancy may make it more difficult for bile to leave the liver. When the bile builds up, bile acids enter the bloodstream. The bile acids are what cause the symptoms of cholestasis.
Cholestasis usually makes its initial appearance in the third trimester of pregnancy; the symptoms worsen as the pregnancy progresses.
Any woman can suffer from cholestasis, but it is more common in mothers with a history of livery disease, mothers who are carrying multiples, and mothers who suffered from cholestasis during previous pregnancies.
What Are the Symptoms of Cholestasis?
The main symptom of cholestasis is sudden, unexplained itching. You'll likely experience more itching on your palms and soles. Expect the itching to worsen at nighttime.
Some less common signs of cholestasis include nausea, a loss of appetite, and a yellow tint to the eyes and skin (also known as jaundice.)
What Are the Dangers of Cholestasis?
Usually, cholestasis does not put the expectant mother at risk. However, cholestasis does pose a risk to the baby. Risks include a higher incidence of stillbirth, higher chance of meconium penetrating the amniotic fluid, and a higher chance of premature delivery.
Due to these risks, your OBGYN will likely delivery your baby before your due date, usually around the 37th week of pregnancy. Continuous monitoring of your bile acid levels helps your OBGYN determine if your cholestasis is worsening.
How Do You Treat Cholestasis?
After the mother delivers, cholestasis usually resolves on its own. Severe cases of cholestasis may be treated with prescription medications that work to decrease the amount of bile salts in the blood stream. These medicines also help alleviate your itchiness.
Your OBGYN will also want to keep a close eye on your developing baby, so be prepared for more frequent visits. During your visits, your OBGYN may perform non-stress tests and biophysical profiles to receive insight on your baby's condition. Regular lab work also lets your OBGYN monitor the functioning of your liver. For more information, talk to a professional like Desert Rose OBGYN PC.Share
14 February 2017
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