June 10, 2020
June is Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy Awareness month. We honor each baby lost to ICP, support all the mother’s who have experienced the itch, and spread awareness of ICP.
Intense itching in pregnancy could be caused by ICP and it could put your baby’s life at risk.
ICP is a liver condition that can develop in pregnancy, where the mother’s bile acids don’t flow correctly and can’t be processed in the mother’s body. A developing baby relies on it’s mother’s liver to remove bile acids from the blood and with the mother’s bile acid levels being elevated this can put stress on the unborn baby’s liver and cause fetal distress, preterm birth or even stillborn. The main symptom of ICP is itching in the hands and feet but it can occur anywhere on the body.
When I was 35 weeks pregnant, I started to itch. It was so bad I couldn’t sleep. I thought it was just dry skin or an allergic reaction to my lotion. Thankfully my mother had heard of ICP and had me call my doctor immediately. They had me come in for testing right away. I was induced the following week. The risk of stillborn goes up drastically the closer you get to full term so my doctor wanted her delivered ASAP. Thankfully they were able to give me two steroid shots to help develop her lungs before hand. After a few days (but what felt like a lifetime) in the NICU we got to bring our beautiful little girl home. And I am grateful. If my mother didn’t know that itchiness was a sign of ICP and how dangerous that could have been to Grace. I would have never have told my doctor and who knows what could have happen.
Please spread awareness of Cholestasis of Pregnancy to all expecting mothers, and women that maybe planning to become pregnant. You could be saving a life!