What it feels like to have cholestasis of pregnancy

What it feels like to have cholestasis of pregnancy

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It's probably just the construction dust from the project underway in our master bathroom, I think to myself. But then it starts to get worse – and, believe me, itchy palms is a feeling I've never had before. It's the strangest sensation.

So, I do what any sane 21st-century pregnant mom knows with all her heart she should probably NOT do: I turn to Dr. Google. Feeling sure there will be no logical answer to one of the most random Google queries I've ever conducted, I type "itchy palms and feet." And, what happens? Google finishes my search terms with "and pregnancy" before I can even think to let my Internet browser know I'm pregnant.

There it is in the Google search box: "itchy palms and feet and pregnancy." I hit Enter and it begins: Cholestasis of pregnancy. Pages and pages of results provide and define the scary details around this rare liver condition I've never once heard of that occurs in late pregnancy. I work in health care; I've already been pregnant numerous times; and I've had a lot of fertility issues throughout the years, so I assume I know pretty much every possible complication under the sun. But this was a new one for me. I try to calmly do my research until I see that "fetal demise or stillbirth" are potential complications. I've lost enough unborn children to know I am NOT letting this one go.

When I anxiously call my OB at 11 p.m., I feel crazy, but I'm quickly reassured that I did the right thing by calling. My and my baby's health far outweighs the discomfort of potential embarrassment.

The doctor asks me a bunch of questions, but feels pretty confident it's not cholestasis, since I've told him the itching isn't too severe. He says that in most cases, patients describe the feeling of cholestasis as making them want to take a steel brush and scratch their skin off to get the itching to stop (his words, not mine). Since my itching is pretty mild, we both decide it's probably not that, but he encourages me to come in the following day for some blood testing.

As it turned out, I did, in fact, have cholestasis of pregnancy. While they gave me the option to wait and keep a watch on my condition, my husband and I didn't hesitate to decide we were having this baby before anything could go wrong. Without any further complication, I was sent to the hospital for an induction, and my sweet baby boy was born the following day in perfect health. He weighed nearly nine pounds!

The takeaway? Google and WebMD are NOT always a bad idea. And when it comes to my health and the health of my children, I won't second-guess myself ever again if I feel like something is wrong. There are some symptoms you should never ignore. My son, who is now 5 and starting kindergarten, thanks me for listening to my body.

Opinions expressed by parent contributors are their own.

Watch the video: What is Cholestasis of Pregnancy? Increased Hormone Levels (August 2022).

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