What Is Intrahepatic Cholestasis Of Pregnancy?

What Is Intrahepatic Cholestasis Of Pregnancy?

What is Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy?

Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP) is a common liver disorder that selectively occurs in pregnant women. Cholestasis disables the secretion of bile, which is a digestive fluid, from the cells of the liver. While there are two types of cholestasis of pregnancy, intrahepatic cholestasis occurs inside the liver. Hence, the name.

What Does the Research Say?

In a study conducted by the Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology of India, only 1.32% of the women had abnormal liver tests in India. The number of ICP is much higher in the western countries, which can go up to 24%. Nevertheless, the same study also concluded that Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy had adverse effects on the health of the mother and the fetus. It can also induce complications during the pregnancy. And, since birthing is something that every pregnant mother is concerned about, we are going to discuss some things that you need to know about Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy so you can take the necessary precautions.

What Causes Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy?

  • Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy is a clinical condition that occurs during the second half of the pregnancy. It is known to vary seasonally because according to a research, the highest number of Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy is recorded in the spring season.
  • Researchers believe that there may be a link between ICP and the mother's history. Those who detected abnormalities during Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy had had miscarriages in the past.
  • The condition may also be genetically inherited. So, make sure you check your history while consulting with the doctor.
  • Besides these, the suppression of the bile may cause a blockage in the liver and continue to build up inside the organ. Because it has to be released somewhere, the bile salts enter the bloodstreams. When mixed with blood, the bile causes you to have Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy.

When Is the Risk of ICP the Highest?

The American Pregnancy Association suggests that women who are carrying multiple babies or have had liver damages previously are at a higher risk of getting Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy. And, as mentioned earlier, since the condition can be genetically induced, women whose mother or sisters have had Intrahepatic Cholestasis are likely to get it from them.


pregnant lady sitting in the park

What Are the Common Symptoms of Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy?

Usually, the symptoms are typically seen from the 30th week of pregnancy. ICP can cause fetal death so, it is necessary to know the symptoms so you can diagnose it in time.

Here are a few symptoms that are commonly observed if you have Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy.

  • Itching is the main symptom observed in all women suffering from Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy.
  • You may feel depressed, exhausted, and experience a loss of appetite.
  • You may also feel nauseous.
  • Releasing dark coloured urine and light coloured excretion are other common symptoms of Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy.

pregnant lady


What Should You Do?

Monitoring blood tests regularly, recording contractions as well as monitoring the fetal health can all help to diagnose Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy early, thus reducing future complications. Since the treatment is  distinctive for every patient, only your physician will be able to formulate one for you. Therefore, when faced with the above symptoms, the best thing to do is consult with your doctor immediately.


Also read: Amniotic Fluid Index: An Important Pregnancy Health Tool



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