Pregnancy Condition - Obstetric Cholestasis

So when I got diagnosed with obstetric cholestasis in my pregnancy, I had no idea what it was and if my baby was going to be ok. And honestly, it was the scariest moment of my life, as i had never felt so out of control. So i decided to do a post and make a video on the subject to talk about my experiences, in order to help other mums to be who are struggling with similar or the same conditions.

I was diagnosed with obstetric cholestatis when I was 30 weeks pregnant. For those of you who don't know what this is, I have had a quick google which will explain it in better detail than I can.  

What is obstetric cholestasis?

Obstetric cholestasis is a liver condition that only occurs in pregnancy. It is not known what causes it but it is believed to be related to the high levels of oestrogen that circulate in the blood stream during pregnancy. It is suggested that the oestrogen levels trigger a reduction in the flow of bile salts within the liver. This stagnation of flow or stasis results in an increase in the amounts of bile acids circulating in the blood which in turn creates the main symptom, which is itching of the skin. In some cases the amounts of bile acid in the blood stream can give rise to jaundice.

'The flow of bile salts within the liver is reduced'.
The principle concern with the condition is the impact that high bile acid levels might have on the developing foetus. High levels of bile acid could affect the foetus resulting in premature delivery. In very rare instances obstetric cholestasis could result in stillbirth. Even though this sad outcome is rare any woman with cholestasis would continue to be monitored throughout the pregnancy in order to establish that the baby is developing properly. 

Before I was diagnosed with OC, I had suffered from pelvic pain ( SPD ) but other than that I was generally having a really good pregnancy. It started with a little rash on my stomach, so I went into the hospital to have it checked out as my stomach was usually so smooth and rash free and so they took some bloods. I didn't really think anything of it until the next day when I was brought into a room by the doctor to give me my results. I was told (in quite an abrupt and cold manner) that I had OC which was a liver condition that can appear in pregnancy. I was told the main concern with this condition is still birth and that I would have to come in every other day to have blood tests to monitor the bile acids in my blood and that I would have to be induced early, as they don't allow people to go over 37/38 weeks. I was then given some tablets and told to be on my way.

I was terrified, I had no idea what this was so the first thing I did was go on google where I came across a website that was dedicated to babies that mothers had lost through OC. This understandably scared the shit out of me and I became very anxious and in all honesty, a mess. I had experienced two miscarriages before this pregnancy so I was already worried about the prospect of things going wrong, so this really wasn't great for me to read or hear.

Over the next 6 weeks I had to go to hospital every two days so the baby could be monitored, so they could keep track of any unusual movements. I also had to have my bloods taken to measure my bile acids. The main concern was to make sure the medication I was taking would work. If my bile acids went higher than 40 (normal is 8) they would then have to induce me in order to reduce any health risks for the baby.

The main symptoms that I had was itching, my stomach was SO ITCHY and so were my feet. They came up in red hives and it was impossible not to itch. Here's a photo of my stomach a few days before I had him.

I got a phone call on the 27.06.17 I was 35 + 6 days and I was told that my bloods had come back to show that my levels were too high and the baby had to come out the next day via C-Section! I was so shocked but also so happy that this nightmare could finally end. My bump was huge, I had also developed pregnancy diabetes , I had terrible pelvic pain and I had really had enough by now. I knew Zachary was measuring big and the doctors had given me steroids to mature his lungs, in case this scenario happened, so I felt pretty confident that he would be ok.

On the 28.06.17 I went in for my C-section worried about all the complications but it all went smoothly and he came out perfectly, weighing 5 pounds 15 and had no problems whatsoever. Once he was born, the itching immediately stopped and my bloods returned back to normal.

I have been told that the condition will most likely happen in my next pregnancy, but I really hope it doesn't as the worrying did ruin my last trimester, although if it does I will definitely be more aware and equipped to handle it mentally. 

The main reason I wanted to write this post on this particular topic was because I was so scared when I found out about it and immediately thought of the worst, and I want to create awareness surrounding this rarely discussed pregnancy condition.

I hope that this post can help just one person going through the same thing, and shed light on the condition that we don't know enough about (yet so many people have it). And to reassure you that so many people like myself, have very positive outcomes. When you're told you have it, you do panic and worry, but I've had it and my baby is perfect! So I hope some of you can find comfort in that. 

We decided to do a video on all of the pregnancy conditions that we encountered and also just the general conditions you get.



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