May 16, 2014

Dear Frannie Friday--What is I.C.P.?

As I mentioned in Reilly's birth story last week, I was induced early due to Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy.  I wanted to talk about this because it is very serious, but also very rare.  I hope that it can help someone in the future who might think they have it.

What is Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy?

Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy, or I.C.P., is a liver disorder that occurs in pregnancy.  Usually, this happens in the third trimester.   Basically, the bile acids in your liver that usually help digestion in your system slows down and gets into your blood.

What are the risks of Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy?

There is a slight chance of hemorrhaging in the mother with I.C.P., but mostly the risks are to the baby.  If left untreated, I.C.P. can cause severe effects to the baby including stillbirth, distress in vitals after birth, premature labor and meconium passing to the infant in the womb.  

How common is Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy?

I.C.P. is very rare--only about 1 or 2 pregnancies in 1,000 end up getting it.  It is more common in women carrying multiple babies or who conceived using IVF.  You are also more likely to have it if your mother or sister had it in their pregnancies or if you have had it in a previous pregnancy.

What is the treatment for I.C.P.?

The only known treatment for I.C.P. is to deliver the baby.  In most cases, the doctor will try to wait until the lungs of the baby are mature enough to deliver--optimally at or after 37 weeks.  If you are diagnosed before the lungs are mature, there is a medicine that they can give you called Ursodeoxycholic Acid (UDCA) or Actigall.

What are the symptoms of I.C.P.?

The most prominent symptom of I.C.P. is itching, but not your normal belly-skin-stretching-itching, this itching can be fairly severe and runs all over your body--predominantly in the palms of your hands and soles of your feet.  It is itching that can keep you up at night and disturb your day.  

There are some other slight symptoms that you can experience as well--nausea, headaches, fatigue, loss of appetite and mild depression.  In some very rare cases, the mother can show signs of jaundice with the whites of their eyes and skin turning yellowish.

It is important to recognize the symptoms of I.C.P.  Because it is so rare of a condition and the symptoms are fairly common among pregnancy in general, it can easily be discarded as first trimester symptoms creeping back up in the third trimester.  When I first started itching I myself was skeptical about seeing a doctor.  It was only itching after all and I'd never even heard of severe itching being a warning sign for anything.  Luckily, I Googled itchiness in pregnancy for some relief and found information on I.C.P.  Even luckier still, when I mentioned it to my doctor, they were right on top of it and ordered bloodwork and did non-stress tests on the baby.  But, as I said, it's a rare instance.  When my bloodwork was sent in, there was one test in particular that had to be sent out of state!  There wasn't anywhere in Colorado that could test for it and we didn't even get the results back until the day after Reilly was born.  

Point is this--if you feel that anything is not quite right when you're pregnant, have it checked out.  Don't worry about feeling you are a bother or a hypochondriac.  It could mean the health of you and your baby.

Light Pink Chiffon One Shoulder Blouse-Bebe, thrifted; Black Maternity Pencil Skirt-Old Navy; Leopard Print Flats-Payless; Necklace-vintage from Grandma; earrings-gifted; Sunnies-shop in mall

No comments:

Post a Comment

You call it your two cents, I call it priceless. Thank you so much for visiting! I read and cherish every single comment.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Site Design By Designer Blogs