Cholestasis Risks & Complications

Cholestasis Risks & Complications

by / Wednesday, 30 June 2021 / Published in Birth Trauma
A doctor places her hands on a pregnant woman's stomach.

During pregnancy, it’s extremely common for women to experience a wide range of side effects. With all the changes the body goes through, it can be hard to tell which problems are just strange side effects and which are serious causes for concern. For example, some women develop rashes or redness of the skin. But while this very often isn’t anything to worry about, even though it is uncomfortable, there are times when it can be a sign of a condition known as cholestasis.

What is Cholestasis?

Cholestasis is a type of liver condition that can develop during the third trimester of pregnancy or late in the second trimester. One of the most well-known symptoms of cholestasis is itching on the palms of the hands and the bottoms of the feet that tends to get worse at night and isn’t accompanied by redness of the skin. Cholestasis can also cause problems like jaundice, nausea, insomnia, a loss of appetite, and pain in the upper right part of the abdomen. Sometimes, the liver can become so enlarged that it causes the abdomen to become distended in ways not caused by the baby.

What Causes Cholestasis?

There isn’t a known specific cause of cholestasis, which means there isn’t a way to prevent it. All doctors can do is run diagnostic tests if a patient begins showing symptoms. However, there are a few known risk factors:

  • Carrying multiple babies

  • Prior history of cholestasis, either personally or in your family

  • A history of liver disease

Some also believe that gallstones, gestational diabetes, and hormonal changes are also risk factors for cholestasis.

Potential Complications of Cholestasis

Cholestasis is a rare condition, occurring in about 1-2 out of 1,000 pregnancies. And the good news is that if cholestasis is caught early, it can be treated and managed to protect both mother and child. But just because a condition is rare, that doesn’t mean it can’t cause complications, which is why it’s very important for doctors to closely monitor the mother’s medical condition and take

Cholestasis has been linked to a higher chance of the baby having a low birth weight, lung immaturity, or being born prematurely. In addition to an increased risk of health complications, premature birth also tends to be a risk factor for injuries around the time of birth. In extreme cases, it can also lead to stillbirth.

Contact a Birth Trauma Lawyer

If you experienced cholestasis during pregnancy and the doctor did not handle it appropriately, don’t hesitate to contact a birth trauma lawyer to learn more about your legal rights. If your child was injured as a result, it’s important to make sure they will be able to get all of the care they need, both today and in the future. At Goodwin & Scieszka, you’ll be able to talk to a lawyer experienced in handling Michigan birth trauma cases. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

Image: iStock / FatCamera

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