If you experience this pregnancy itch, call your doctor immediately

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This condition usually manifests during the final trimester, in the last 10 weeks of pregnancy, but in certain cases it can start earlier.

Pregnancy brings about an array of changes in a woman’s body, so when she experiences symptoms that she isn’t familiar with, it is often attributed to these changes.

Most often than not they are just that, but sometimes these symptoms are indicative of something larger, something more insidious at hand.

Lisa McNally’s doctors, unfortunately, failed to consider this possibility.

According to her story published on Essential Baby, Lisa developed at her 28th week of pregnancy a terrible itch. Her doctor, however, told her it was a normal part of pregnancy.

It was not.

She described it as an “intense” kind of itch which began from her lower legs, and then traveled to her hands and feet. It particularly got worse during evenings.

“It was like no itch I had ever heard before,” she said. “It was unbearable and was like an internal itch rather than an itch that is felt on the outside of the skin.”

Three weeks later, her obstetrician broke to her a devastating news: her unborn daughter Harlow Rose had died in utero.

“The obstetrician used the doppler to check the baby's heartbeat, but no heartbeat could be found. I then had an ultrasound which confirmed Harlow Rose had died,” Lisa said. “I just couldn't believe it as I had felt her being really active the night before.”

Based on the blood tests the doctors drew from her, it revealed that Lisa had been suffering from Intrahepatic Cholestassis—a pregnancy complication affecting women’s livers and is lethal to unborn babies if left untreated.

In fact Harlow Rose could have survived if Lisa had received medication from the itch when she first complained about it.

What is Intrahepatic Cholestassis?

Intrahepatic Cholestassis or ICP, is a pregnancy complication brought on by women’s hormones, particularly estrogen, which affects the liver by preventing the flow of bile into the intestines.

One of bile’s many functions is breaking down food and absorbing nutrients in the bloodstream. But what happens when women has ICP is that the bile, as well as other toxins, accumulates in the bloodstream.

This condition usually manifests during the final trimester, in the last 10 weeks of pregnancy, but in certain cases it can start earlier.

Main symptoms include severe itching unaccompanied by a rash (because the itch happens beneath the skin). Affected areas usually occur on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.

However, it can affect other areas of the body, and it usually worsens at night.

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Written by

James Martinez