Cholestasis during Pregnancy
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Cholestasis during Pregnancy
My friend is pregnant with twins, and has recently developed
cholestasis; a condition in which her liver function is reduced
and she is producing too much bilirubin (I'm not sure of all
these details). It may pose a risk for stillbirth, especially
in the later weeks of pregnancy. The worst problem for her
right now is the unbelievable and intolerable itching it
causes. She wakes up scratching and tearing at her skin. Her
doctor has prescribed her a few medications which don't seem to
be reducing the itching, and which make her really nauseous.
Does anyone have any experience with cholestasis and have any
advice for her on how to deal with the itching, or how to treat
I had this with my last child for the last month of my
pregnancy and though I would die. This is NOT the same
as many other kinds of pregnancy itching - which are often
described in pregnancy books. I itched EVERYWHERE -
bottoms of feet, ears, you name it. It took my ob 10 days to
diagnose and in that time I got no sleep from the itching.
She finally prescribed a medicine for high cholesterol -
maybe Cholestyrine or something like that. It is a powder
which is mixed in with juice and you drink it 3 times a day. It
worked wonders - and I even was able to back off the
dosage after a few days. It does nothing to the baby - just
binds the salts and lets your body eliminate them naturally.
Tell your friend to hang in there - it truly disappears the
moment you deliver. I had natural childbirth, no drugs, no
complications and healthy baby.
Once I found out I had it I checked many pregnancy books
and could only find mention of it in one - written by an
I didn't have cholestasis (although I was tested for it) but I did have
itchy rashes with both of my pregnancies. I found a wonderful,
dermatologist who prescribed the oral steroid Prednisone. Although it
is safe to
take during pregnancy, it's not for everyone -- it gave me gestational
both times. However, the rash was so excruciatingly uncomfortable (I
sleeping at night) that I was desperate. Some women with PUPPPs
of pregnancy-related rash) have found dandelion root to help the
I had Pupps which also causes terrible itching. I'm afraid I don't have
good news for your friend. I will say that generally OBs will induce
because of the risk of still! birth, which will come as a tremendous
relief to her.
The itching is truly unbearable. Some things that worked for me to a
extent: Sarna ointment (I applied it every few minutes). Six or seven
baths a day (only felt relief while in the bath). Ice packs. I finally
went on oral
steroids, which are not very good for the baby, but did relieve the
allowed me to get a minute's sleep. That, unfortunately, won't help
her. I'm so
sorry for your poor friend.
I feel for your friend. I too, was miserable with itching
when I was pregnant with my twins. Things that helped are:
1. Wear loose cotton clothing 2. Use Planet detergent and no
dryer sheets or fabric softener 3. Wash with Cetaph! il not
soap, and warm, not hot, showers 4. Aveeno cream with
praxamine(topical anasthetic)--it's over the counter 5. My
o.b. also prescribed Atarax--pills which finally stopped the
itching enough to allow me to get some sleep 6. She might
also ask about cortisone creams. Good luck!
I also developed cholestasis during my 2nd pregnancy. The
itching, especially at night, is indeed awful and unfortunately
there is not much you can do, but just wait it out and know that
it will end. My feet were the worst, I would use Aveeno Oatmeal
lotion at night and wear socks to bed, that helped a little.
The most important thing is to be monitored regularly, as it can
cause stillbirth in the last few weeks of pregnancy in the worst
cases. The good news is that literally within hours of delivery,
it goes away, with no postpartum ramifications at all. There is
a website called: www.itchymoms.com that has some information
and at least to know there are many other people out there who
have suffered from it too.
this page was last updated: Nov 11, 2007
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