With each trimester of pregnancy, your body undergoes a great deal of change, and you will experience many sensations and developments. While some of these symptoms can be considered normal, chronic symptoms of any kind are often an indicator of something larger. One such symptom is itching. Excessive itching during pregnancy could be an indicator of the production of excessive bile salts from the liver. This will progress to an illness called cholestasis. However, it tapers off after delivery.
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Also known as intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, the predominant symptom of the illness is itching. The place of itching can vary with each woman. You may have excessive itching either on the palms, feet, or abdomen, or sometimes all over the body. The itching can be so severe that women sometimes scratch until they cause bleeding. There are also times when you will find that the itching is generally all over the body, but more pronounced on the palms and soles of the feet. Itching is the only outward sign of the illness.
Other Possible Symptoms
There are several other symptoms that indicate an excess of bile salts in the body, but it is often hard to associate them with cholestasis simply because they are seen in the course of a normal pregnancy. Among the other symptoms you may feel are tiredness and a loss of appetite. You may also have a sensation of feeling ill and nauseated. You may also notice that your urine has taken on a dark hue and your bowel movements have turned lighter in colour. Some women experience a great deal of pain in the upper portions of their body. Other women become extremely depressed. You may also develop jaundice-like symptoms, with your eyes and nails taking on yellow shades. This is from an increased bilirubin level.
Rate of Occurrence
Cholestasis is a very rare illness and occurs in about two out of 10,000 pregnancies in America. The same rate prevails in Asia and Europe. The unfortunate part is that cholestasis has more than a 50 per cent chance of recurring in subsequent pregnancies. Cholestasis generally occurs in the final trimester of pregnancy and is more common in women carrying more than one baby. If you experience a lot of itching in your pregnancy, it would be a good idea to mention it to your doctor.
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