Pregnancy is a crucial period in a woman’s life. Due to various hormonal changes, certain symptoms may arise, which may be detrimental for the health of both the mother and baby. Mild disorders can become serious and give rise to unpleasant consequences. One such severe condition is associated with abnormal liver functioning. Liver problems during pregnancy give rise to serious complications. The following passages furnish details regarding the most probable liver disorders acquired when carrying a baby.
Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP): Abnormal Bile Flow
- ICP is one of the common liver problems experienced during pregnancy that is related to the flow of bile. It occurs due to an abnormal flow of bile and build-up of acids.
- The associated symptoms are jaundice with bloody stools and flow of dark-coloured urine. There’s severe itching accompanied by rashes.
- Women face bouts of anxiety and get fatigued very soon. This problem also affects the health of the baby and bears the risk of meconium staining during childbirth. In extreme cases, preterm labour leads to the death of the baby.
HELLP Syndrome: Low Platelet Count and Increase in Liver Enzymes
- This syndrome is characterised by an increase in the levels of liver enzymes and a very low platelet count in the blood. It is one of the serious complications of pregnancy that is marked by a rapid breakdown of red blood cells.
- Normally diagnosed during the third trimester, it is a form of preeclampsia. Women suffering from this syndrome can also develop postpartum.
- Premature delivery of baby is the only option if abruption of placenta is observed. Severe bleeding, kidney failure, and stroke may result in the mother’s death.
Acute Fatty Liver: Build Up of Fats
- Fatty liver is associated with a build up of fat in the liver cells. Although the condition occurs very rarely, it leads to liver and kidney failure.
- Symptoms of fatty liver are abdominal pain, vomiting, and severe headache. Women suffering from severe jaundice are more prone to developing fatty liver.
Hepatitis: Severe Jaundice due to Viral Attack
- Hepatitis is caused by three strains of virus, namely: hepatitis A, B, and C. Amongst the three types, hepatitis B is the most severe form that can pass to the baby through the uterus.
- The diagnostic symptoms of hepatitis infection are jaundice, abdominal discomfort, fatigue, and lack of appetite.
Preeclampsia: Liver Swelling and Increase in Liver Enzymes
- This is the most commonly observed problem in pregnant women. Preeclampsia is a condition characterised by a rise in the level of liver enzymes that leads to a severe swelling of the liver.
- Early symptom of this problem is high blood pressure (experienced by the mother). Liver damage is caused due to the leakage of proteins through urine.
- It mainly occurs during the third trimester and if not treated early, it causes strokes, seizures, and even death of mother, baby, or both.
- The most observant liver problems in pregnancy can be treated with medications. Delivering the baby is sometimes the sole solution of this problem. If ICP is diagnosed early, doctors carry out treatments that show successful results.
- They prescribe antihistamine medication for rashes and other medications to regulate the flow of bile. The cure for hepatitis is still in the nascent stages.
- Hepatitis vaccination is of utmost importance for the mother to prevent liver problems after pregnancy. The only cure for HELLP syndrome, fatty liver, and preeclampsia is delivery of the baby.
- In case of HELLP syndrome, if babies are under 34 weeks, delivery can be postponed for two days in order to administer drugs.
Pregnant women should not take the risk of leaving unusual symptoms undiagnosed. Doctors perform certain liver function tests to detect the disorders immediately. Proper treatment at the right time can cure these symptoms completely.