Liver Care During Pregnancy: Everything You Need To Know

Liver Care During Pregnancy: Everything You Need To Know

25 Apr 2022 | 5 min Read

Sayani Basu

Author | 216 Articles

As per research, approximately 3% of pregnant women are affected by some form of liver disease. These liver conditions during pregnancy can sometimes be dangerous not only for the mother but the child as well.

The liver is an important organ in our body, and though liver conditions during pregnancy is fairly common, the liver is prone to certain diseases like hyperemesis gravidarum and intrahepatic cholestasis that can vary from mild to severe especially during pregnancy.

It is important to keep your liver healthy during this crucial time so that your liver can cope with an increased workload.

What Does The Liver Do?

The liver has some vital functions, and it is also the the largest internal organ in our body. Some of the vital functions of liver are:

1. It filters the blood and breaks down harmful substances.

2. It helps in digestion by secreting bile. It breaks down and helps to absorb nutrients from the food we eat.

3. The liver ensures that toxic substances and foreign substances are removed safely from the blood before it reaches the digestive tract with the help of enzymes.

4. Liver cells are essential for protein synthesis (the process where the body’s cells make proteins that are necessary for function and cell structure )and produces ammonia, which helps in amino acid metabolism.

5. The liver produces clotting factors, which prevents bleeding, and a protein called albumin, which helps to keep the right balance of water in the bloodstream. This prevents excess fluid from leaking into the surrounding tissues.

6. The liver produces, stores and releases minerals and vitamins like iron, copper, Vitamin K, Vitamin A, Vitamin D and B12 into the blood. All these vitamins are vital for our well-being.

Symptoms of Liver Disease

Expecting mums can get liver diseases such as intra-hepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP), hyperemesis gravidarum (HELLP) syndrome and acute fatty liver of pregnancy (AFLP).

Some of the symptoms of liver disease are:

1. Severe itching of the hands and feet

2. Nausea, loss of appetite

3. Feeling of extreme exhaustion

4. Dark colour of the urine

5. Depression.

Liver diseases in pregnant women can affect the developing baby. The increased levels of bile can cause stress to the foetus. Sometimes, depending on the severity, liver disorders can also lead to preterm birth or stillbirth.

Treatment of Liver Disease

Skin creams can relieve itching, a result of intra-hepatic cholestasis of pregnancy. Besides, cold baths and ice water can be recommended to decrease body temperature. Vitamin K supplements before and after the baby is born can prevent intracranial hemorrhage.

Frequent check-ups, tests and regular visits to the gynecologist are recommended both pre and post-delivery if you have any symptoms of liver disease.

Liver Care During Pregnancy

If you are pregnant with a fatty liver or a sluggish or inflamed gallbladder, you will be at increased risk of liver disorders.

A healthy diet plays a significant role in maintaining your liver health. Keeping your nutritional intake high and your weight in the healthy range will help significantly to prevent liver problems during pregnancy.

Here’s a list of items that will take care of your liver health during pregnancy:

  1. Fish: Salmon, sardines, pacific mackerel, Herring, anchovies, and freshwater trout are one of the best sources of Omega-3 fatty acids and contribute significantly to liver health.

These help to reduce inflammation and break down accumulated fat in the cells.

Try to avoid shark, swordfish, king mackerel, or tilefish to reduce your mercury exposure. It is also recommended not to eat uncooked fish and shellfish to avoid harmful bacteria or viruses.

Garlic helps the body to produce and release enzymes that detoxify the toxins from the liver. | Image Source: freepik

  1. Garlic: Garlic is rich in allicin, known for antioxidant and antibiotic properties. According to studies, garlic helps the body to produce and release enzymes that detoxify the toxins from the liver.

Being rich in many natural compounds, garlic also revamps the work of antioxidants in the body.

  1. Grapefruit: Grapefruits help in repairing liver damage. Enriched with vitamin C and antioxidants, grapefruits help flush out all the toxins from the body and protect the cells and repair the damage to the liver.
  1. Berries: Berries such as cranberries and blueberries contain anthocyanins that protect your liver from damage. These antioxidants improve the immune response of the liver.

Berries have nutrients called polyphenols. This helps protect against non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, which often goes hand in hand with obesity and high cholesterol.

Pomegranate is an excellent source of potassium and vitamin C and is one of the most recommended fruits for pregnant women. | Image Source: freepik

  1. Pomegranate: An excellent source of potassium and vitamin C, pomegranate is one of the most recommended fruits for pregnant women.

It also plays an important role in improving the haemoglobin count in your blood. Furthermore, the fruit contains many antioxidants including ellagic acid, which has been gaining strides in cancer research.

  1. Beetroot: Beetroot is a healthy root vegetable that is beneficial for people of all ages and proves useful to expecting mums.

The antioxidants, minerals and vitamins present in beetroot help improve your immunity and protect against infections during pregnancy.

Besides, it improves the bile flow which in turn helps in breaking down the toxic waste.

  1. Green tea: Green tea is a famous herbal tea and is loaded with antioxidants.

It also aids in liver functions and protects it from harmful toxins.

Add these items to your diet and follow all the guidelines given by your doctor. Consult your doctor before taking supplements.

DISCLAIMER: We have taken steps to check the accuracy of information & practices shared above; however, it is not a replacement for a doctor’s opinion. Please check with either your doctor, or an expert, before trying any suggestion, practice, or medication mentioned here.

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