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Itching in pregnancy - liver issues

(23 Posts)
sepa Mon 01-Feb-16 17:57:47

I went into hospital today to check out swelling and BP which came back fine. When I was there I mentioned that I had itchy hands and feet at night mostly. MW said it was probably nothing as it only seemed to be at night but to go have bloods taken anyway.

3ish hrs later i called for the results and it has shown that my liver isn't doing what it should be with bile etc (but only just over the mark where they like to start treatment)
I have to go to hospital tomorrow to talk to specialist about treatment then weekly for blood tests and appointments with the specialist.

As you do, I consulted Dr Google which was a bit gloomy and puts worst case scenario out. Just wondered if anyone else has had this with their liver and what the outcome was?
I'm 34 + 3 so not a massive amount of time left of the pregnancy anyway

kamillaw Mon 01-Feb-16 18:01:37

It's called Obstetric Cholestasis or ICP. They like to induce between 37-38 weeks as it can affect baby later than that, it's managed with medication and monitoring until then. I've had it in my last two pregnancies. Both babies delivered normally with no issues from the OC nor induction xx

sepa Mon 01-Feb-16 18:04:50

Thank you for your response Kamillaw. I am currently working until 38 weeks (well that was the plan)
i will see what the specialist says tomorrow but looks like I may have to speak to work

Forgetmenotblue Mon 01-Feb-16 18:07:57

I had OC in two preganancies and had medication and lots of monitoring. Induced at 37 weeks with both. Babies all fine. Itching maddening though for me.

Had a liver scan and blood tests after the birth to check all was returning to normal...this continued until 6 months post partum. 'Twas a long gime ago though....treatment will have progressed I'm sure.

sepa Mon 01-Feb-16 18:17:18

I wouldn't say that I have had bad itching all day which is the weird thing.
Could it be just a today thing or is that fact that I do get bad itching at bedtime saying that it probably is OC?
Is there anything (like drinking more water) that I can do to help it?

kamillaw Mon 01-Feb-16 19:29:41

Get yourself some menthol aqueous cream to slather on at night. oC itching usually is worse at night. Cold showers can help. If you get drugs they tend to be something to counteract the bad bile acids and piriton for the itching, these are prescribed. There is a ICP support forum and group on FB but not sure about conclusive dietary changes having an impact, of course you could try drinking more, eggs which are good for the liver and flax seed (cheaper than milk thistle and I'd rather not take that in PG)

sepa Mon 01-Feb-16 19:47:01

I'm really worried. Seems this is more serious than I thought.
I'm not even sure I'm ready to have a baby in such short amount of time!

kamillaw Mon 01-Feb-16 20:00:58

Please don't worry you are being well looked after and monitored the outcomes are very good. Wait to speak to the consultant as they will be able to give you a more accurate plan of care. You and baby will be fine! X

Sparklycat Mon 01-Feb-16 20:02:26

I had it, was terrible at night and I couldn't sleep. Induced on my due date.

ZenNudist Mon 01-Feb-16 20:10:33

Yep been there. It was horrible itched all over all the time. They didn't treat me, just monitored it, I'd i had a blood test I think. That's all.

Don't google. You'll be fine. Focus on getting ready for the birth. Get bouncing on your ball, swimming, walking, whatever you can do to encourage baby along. At 34 weeks you could have Another 8 weeks of this.

I found cold wet towels helped. And I think I used e45 anti itch cream. I don't think it worked. Ask doc if they can prescribe something.


sepa Mon 01-Feb-16 21:18:18

I don't find the itching too bad most of the time. Just a little bit, but I notice it more if I'm a bit swollen up.
I don't really get it as itching seems to be the symptom but I'm only getting it occasionally but blood test today shows me just 1 over where they start treatment.
I suppose I just need to wait to sesee what is said tomorrow about being induced etc as I may be getting ahead of myself

sepa Tue 02-Feb-16 20:25:35

Had my appointment today and it is ICP. They are not treating me yet but said is was more a case of when they start not if.

Said that they induce people with this from 37 weeks but want to know what the chances are of actually being induced at 37 weeks compared to being left to 40 weeks? And can people be left to just go into labour naturally or is this out of the question now?

I know these should have been asked in my appointment but only just thought of them now!

Forgetmenotblue Tue 02-Feb-16 21:56:17

When I had my babies there was no question of being left to 40 weeks as the risks got greater the later babies were left in the womb. Don't know if that's the case now. I've got a vague memory that your risk of bleeding can be higher so labour has to be a bit more managed. (Might be wrong, not and HCP).

Onlyonce Tue 02-Feb-16 22:56:34

I had this. I don't think they let anyone go beyond 38 weeks with OC. Perhaps read up on what to expect during an induction so you know the drill but try not to worry. You will be monitored carefully. Mine wasn't picked up until 38 weeks so it was induction there and then.

sepa Wed 03-Feb-16 07:17:20

Thank you for your replies.
I am meant to be at work till just over 38 weeks so I needed to see if I would have to leave earlier. I will look to leave at 37 weeks I think..

Peppapigallowsmetoshower Wed 03-Feb-16 07:24:02

I hope you don't mind me hopping on your band wagon but this has been niggling away at me for ages. I'm 26 weeks and one of my legs is so dreadfully itchy. I think because it's only one leg it's more likely to be an irritation of some kind but it's up and down my shin and it's awful. Is it worth even mentioning at 28 weeks blood tests? Will the midwife think I'm overreacting?

I'm glad you've been diagnosed OP, that way you and your baby can be kept safe. Good luck with arranging your leave.

sepa Wed 03-Feb-16 08:09:46

I think it is worth mentioning to your MW. Apparently symptoms can appear before it shows in blood work so you may have to push for repeated blood tests.

It's literally only because my mum was being a bit paranoid saying I looked like I had swollen like a balloon that I even went to hospital that day and overheard a MW saying about itching that I mentioned I have very mild itching on my hands and feet. MW even said its is probably nothing as its so mild but as I was there anyway to go get my blood taken.

steppemum Wed 03-Feb-16 09:09:36

I had this 10 years ago with dc2 (didn't have it with dc1 or 3)

I was living overseas and came home at 35 weeks, mentioned the itching and found I was suddenly the focus of lots of attention. No medication, but lots of blood tests.

I was told that they will induce at 37 or 38 weeks. No chance of going to term.

This is because the OC causes a slightly higher chance of problems in the last 2 weeks. The problems are related to heart, so they do want to keep an eye on baby through labour. (there is no lasting effect on the baby btw)

They monitored me through labour, (because of the OC) but as this was my second dc and I was feeling very assertive, I said I am not lying down to be monitored, I need to walk around. My midwife was amazing and managed to monitor me while I was walking round, and I gave birth standing up.

I was induced with a pessary and then had a normal easy labour and birth, so induction doesn't have to mean loads of intervention.

TeaandHobnobs Wed 03-Feb-16 09:32:11

I had OC with DC2 early last year. In hindsight, I had symptoms from about 36 weeks, or possibly even a little before, but again it was mild itching, I thought, so it didn't even cross my mind it could be OC (I thought if you had OC, you'd be scratching yourself until you bled!). I also possibly had some of the other symptoms (pale stools, dark urine), but again, I didn't know the significance of it!

I stupidly didn't mention it to the midwife at my appointments, until I saw a different midwife at 40+4, who noticed my stretch marks and asked if they were itchy, and I said, well actually, I'm a bit itchy all over to be honest. So she packed me straight off to the hospital for blood tests, and my bile acid levels were pretty high, so they admitted me to be induced, as since I was already passed my due date, it was potentially too risky to wait any longer.

Like steppemum, I just had the pessary, and labour was very quick and straightforward (and fast!) - I was being monitored, but they respected my wishes not to deliver on my back, and actually managed to meet most of the requests on my birth plan, where they could.

Had quite a few blood tests afterwards to check my levels were returning to normal (which they did pretty quickly). There are some longer term implications regarding hormonal contraception (i.e. it is wise to avoid certain types, but the GP can advise you on that), and if you've had it once, you have a greater chance of it occurring in subsequent pregnancies (although I find the statistics on that a bit confusing) - though look at steppemum, who didn't get it the next time!

I found this a really useful source of information at the time (frantically googling after being diagnosed!):

Good luck and I'm sure all will be well smile

steppemum Wed 03-Feb-16 09:37:12

like the op, my itching wasn't bad, I mentioned it in passing, midwife said Oh we'll just do a blood test as a precaution, she (and I) were surprised when it came back positive.

sepa Tue 09-Feb-16 16:20:30

My results have gone down to 7 (so within the normal range) has this happened to anyone else?

kamillaw Tue 09-Feb-16 16:56:43

Yes Sepa they can go up and down. It's better to make plans for a 37 week induction as it's 'only' an extra week as far as your work is concerned, how many weeks are you now?

sepa Tue 09-Feb-16 17:18:44

I will be 36 weeks on Friday.
Some parts of liver function was still raised but I read that this is normal during pregnancy

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