Sunday, October 7, 2012

Severe itching and obstetric cholestasis - Can a slow growing fetus catch up?

Severe itching and obstetric cholestasis: Severe itching can be a sign of a condition called obstetric cholestasis. This is a potentially dangerous liver disorder that seems to run in families, although it can occur even if there is no family history. The main symptom is severe generalized itching without a rash, most commonly in the last four months of pregnancy. Obstetric cholestasis can lead to premature birth, stillbirth or serious health problems for your baby. It can also increase the risk of maternal hemorrhage after the delivery.
Symptoms of obstetric cholestasis during pregnancy    
You should see your doctor if:
The itching becomes severe – particularly if it affects your hands and feet
You develop jaundice (yellowing of the whites of the eyes and skin)
You get itching and a severe rash.
Slow growing fetus    
Many of the tests in pregnancy check that your baby is growing.
If you have previously had a very small baby, or if you smoke heavily, the midwives and doctors will already be monitoring your pregnancy closely. Blood pressure checks may also pick up signs that there are complications. If there is concern about your baby’s health, further tests might be carried out and your baby will be monitored more frequently.
Can a slow growing fetus catch up?    
In the last weeks of pregnancy, you should keep track of your baby’s movements. If you notice your baby’s movements becoming less frequent or stopping, it may be a sign that your baby is unwell. You should contact your midwife or doctor immediately.
If tests show that your baby is not growing well in the uterus, your midwife and doctor may recommend early delivery by induction of labor or caesarean section.
Seek medical help
You should contact your GP if you have a sudden ‘acute’ illness like diarrhea, vomiting, abdominal pain or a high fever.

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