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                    Cholestasis

What is it?

Some women experience itching in late pregnancy. This can be caused by Cholestasis. It is a common liver disease that only occurs in pregnancy. The flow of bile in the gallbladder is affected by the high amounts of pregnancy hormones. The gallbladder holds bile that is produced in the liver. The function of bile is to aid in the digestion of fats. When the flow of bile is slowed down or stopped, it causes a buildup of bile acids in the liver which can spill into the bloodstream.

It is diagnosed by blood test. Elevated maternal levels of bile can stress the baby’s liver. The developing baby relies on the mother’s liver to remove bile acids from the blood. Blood tests may show higher than normal levels of bilirubin and alkaline phosphatase. (blood work should be done)

 

Symptoms are:  

  • Itching, esp of the hands and feet.

  • Dark urine

  • Fatigue or exhaustion

  • Light coloring of bowel movements

  • Loss of appetite

  • Depression

  • Jaundice

  • Upper-right quadrant pain

  • Clay-colored or white stools

  • Inability to digest certain foods

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Pain in the right upper part of the abdomen

  • Yellow skin or eyes

How well a person does depends on the disease causing the condition. Stones in the common bile duct usually can be removed, curing the cholestasis.

Some Home and Herbal remedies are:

Dandelion root and Milk thistle are natural substances that are helpful to remove the toxins. Cold baths and ice water slows down the flow of blood in the body by decreasing the temperature.

The Following is taken from:  http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancycomplications/cholestasispregnancy.html

“How will the baby be affected if the mother is diagnosed with Cholestasis?"

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.

What is the treatment for Cholestasis of pregnancy?

The treatment goals for cholestasis of pregnancy are to relieve itching. Some treatment options include:

  • Topical anti-itch medications or medication with corticosteroids

  • Medication to decrease the concentration of bile acids such as ursodeoxycholic acid

  • Cold baths and ice water slow down the flow of blood in the body by decreasing its temperature

  • Dexamethansone is a steroid that increases the maturity of the baby’s 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 which involve fetal heart monitoring and contraction recordings

  • Regular blood tests monitoring both bile serum levels and liver function”