25 Apr 2022 | 5 min Read
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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:
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.
Being rich in many natural compounds, garlic also revamps the work of antioxidants in the body.
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.
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.
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.
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.