Obstetric cholestasis is a condition of the liver that can cause itching and yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice). If you develop any symptoms of obstetric cholestasis, be sure to see your doctor right away as this condition needs to be closely monitored.

The main symptoms of obstetric cholestasis include itching of the skin that doesn’t normally have a rash, this itching can occur all over the body but is more prominent on the hands and feet and tends to be worse at night. Other less common symptoms can include a yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice), dark urine and pale stools.

Obstetric cholestasis is more common in the later stages of pregnancy, from around 30 weeks, but can start as early as 8 weeks so it’s important to be aware of the symptoms. If obstetric cholestasis isn’t picked up and monitored it can have serious complications such as premature birth and foetal death. Obstetric cholestasis happens when bile acids from your liver, that contribute to the digestion process, cannot flow properly to your gut and instead build up inside your body. If you’ve had obstetric cholestasis before then you are more likely to develop it again in future pregnancies, there is also evidence to suggest that this condition can be hereditary.

If you are diagnosed with obstetric cholestasis then you will need to have regular blood tests to monitor the condition, these tests check your liver function and the levels or bile acid in your body.

If you are struggling with the itching then you must speak to your midwife or GP about what you can use to find some relief, some creams that contain menthol are known to be effective and can soothe itchy skin but it’s always best to check what is safe to use with a healthcare professional.

This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional.

NHS | Itching and intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy | https://www.nhs.uk/pregnancy/related-conditions/complications/itching-and-intrahepatic-cholestasis/