Tag Archives: Cholestasis of Pregnancy

Watching My Pregnancy Go From Care-Free To High Risk In One Day.

12 Sep

On Tuesday, September 10th, my “Birth Plan” and any hopes of having a completely natural labor and delivery went out the window. I had been so confident and actually looking forward to an awesome birth experience. Suddenly, In one day, it was taken away and replaced with fear, confusion, and near panic. Not to mention a deep sadness. 

In my last update post, I mentioned some itching I’ve been having on my hands and feet. I told my doctor and she told me there are two kinds of itching in pregnancy: The tummy itch, with or without rash, and itching from Cholestasis. As she was explaining Cholestasis to me, she wasn’t speaking in a way that was “it might be”, she was basically telling me I have it. She ordered blood tests to check my bile acid levels, and ordered to see me every week for NST (non-stress test) for baby. That told me this wasn’t a guessing game, no “maybe”. She didn’t go too into detail, I assume on purpose. I know she wouldn’t want to scare me. She told me it isn’t THAT bad, but it is serious and potentially dangerous. I was calm, because she was calm. I always loved my doctor because she always eased my worried mind. 

I was trying to stay positive while leaving the office, and didn’t really feel too scared. But, I hadn’t really thought about reality yet either. When I got home I started my researching. I didn’t want to read the WebMD sort of thing that is always the worst case scenario. But I quickly found that every site, every article, every testimony, wasn’t far off from each other. No one was playing this down. Everything I read on Cholestasis stated it is a serious condition. 

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What is Cholestasis? In short, the flow of bile (a digestive fluid in the liver), slows or stops, bile builds up and goes about the blood stream, which causes the itching. Blah blah blah. That isn’t the part I’m worried about. Here’s the serious part: The bile salt build up can be VERY dangerous for your unborn baby. My doctor only mentioned it could clog the placenta. But everything I’ve read has scarier things to say. Preterm labor, fetal distress, meconium in the amniotic fluid, and stillbirth. I was fear stricken.

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Treatment for Cholestosis? Consistent fetal monitoring, blood tests to check levels (both at least once a week), perhaps some vitamin K in case of blood clotting issues which can cause severe bleeding after delivery (but is rare), a lot of people are given “Urso” to help the itching and bile flow. Some say it works, others disagree.  But the only cure for Cholestasis is giving birth. Here’s the crazy part: After giving birth, usually, neither you, nor your baby are affected by it. Most women say they felt better very quickly after birth. 

The part that bothers me (ugh..where to start), is that up until now, I thought I was healthy, that my baby was healthy and that my pregnancy was normal and that I would have a great birth experience because I had no complications. But in a day, I went from having a normal, happy pregnancy, to considered high risk. 

In the situation of Cholestasis, induction is usually the answer, unless you go into labor before hand. From what I’ve read, they don’t want you going past 37 weeks because after that point the chance of stillbirth jumps significantly. A lot of women had levels so bad, they’ve been induced at 30, 31 weeks. Obvious induction was very far from my birth plan. But honestly, when I found out the risks of having my baby in there, I couldn’t care less about my birth plan. My main focus is her well being. If that means induction or C-section (God forbid), so be it. The sad part is, after having Cholestasis, you’re at least 70% likely to have it during future pregnancies. Which means, my chances of ever having the natural home birth I dream of, are slim to none.

I haven’t gotten the results back from my blood test yet, so I don’t know how bad it is, or was at that time at least. The thing is, it’s completely unpredictable. Your levels can go from moderate to sky high within an hour. My itching has gotten worse in just a day. My heart aches for what my body is putting my baby through, not to mention this crazy itching! But it also mourns my dream of an all natural home birth. 

There is nothing I could have done to prevent this, and since I’ve never had it before, no way of knowing it was possible. There is nothing I can do now but follow my intuition, take my doctor’s advice, and do whatever is best for my growing baby. 

Have you experienced Cholestasis during pregnancy? I could use some support. 

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