Cholestasis Of Pregnancy

Callie Here 🙂

Pregnancy story continued:

Everything was great until the week of Christmas.

I was 27 weeks pregnant and I started to have really itchy hands and feet. It was winter, and there was snow on ground so I assumed it was just the usual winter dry skin. I figured it was worse this year because I was pregnant and lets face it hormones make everything worse. I tried lotions all over my hands and feet with no relief. I was loosing my mind. I could not stop scratching. I was cutting my skin all over my hands and feet from scratching. Finally, I decided to call my OB because I just could not take it anymore. When I spoke to the nurse, she said we need you to come in tomorrow for a visit…… Oh Wow… I did not think I was going to get that response. So I hung up the phone and of course did what you are NOT suppose to do… and googled and WebMD pregnancy itching in hands and feet.

What I read, made my jaw drop…

I went into my OB the next day explained my itching and had labs drawn looking at my liver levels for cholestasis.

What is cholestasis of pregnancy? Thought you would never ask!

Cholestasis of pregnancy is the pregnancy hormones affect liver function, resulting in slowing or stopping the flow of bile. The gallbladder holds bile that is produced in the liver, which is necessary for the breakdown of fats in digestion. When the bile flow in the liver itself is stopped or slowed down, this causes a build up of bile acids in the liver which can spill into the bloodstream.

Signs and symptoms include:

  • Itching, particularly on the hands and feet (often is the only symptom noticed)
  • Dark urine color
  • Pain in the right upper quadrant (RUQ), without gallstones
  • Pale/Light coloring of bowel movements
  • Fatigue or exhaustion
  • Loss of appetite
  • Depression

Less common symptoms include:

  • Jaundice (yellow coloring of skin, eyes, and mucous membranes)
  • Upper-Right Quadrant Pain
  • Nausea

How does it effect the baby and the mother?

Cholestasis may increase the risks for fetal distress, preterm birth, or stillbirth. A developing baby relies on the mother’s liver to remove bile acids from the blood; therefore, the elevated levels of maternal bile cause stress on the baby’s liver. Women with cholestasis should be monitored closely and serious consideration should be given to inducing labor once the baby’s lungs have reached maturity.

How many pregnant women are at risk for this?

1 to 2 pregnancies in 1,000 are affected by cholestasis.
The following women have a higher risk of getting cholestasis during pregnancy:

  • Women carrying multiples
  • Women with previous liver damage
  • Previous family history Cholestasis or ICP

Holy Cow…

After reading this and getting my results back from my OB I was shocked. I blacked out in the room with her. She told me they were putting me on a medication to help with my liver levels and I was going to be hooked up for a fetal monitor non stress test. My husband was not with me for that appointment. As soon as my OB left, I started sobbing in the office. My hands were shaking, and then next thing I knew, I am hooked up and hearing my little guys heart beat and tracking his movements. I sat there and just cried. I was so scared. I was so anxious, nervous and full of complete fear for our future. Being this far into my pregnancy and the thought of a stillbirth I was an emotional mess.

If you feel you have any symptoms of cholestasis please contact your provider as soon as possible and speak with them regarding your symptoms.

All information for this post was taken/cited from the American Pregnancy Association

Cholestasis of Pregnancy