Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy happens in the late stages of pregnancy. Falling under the class of cholestasis liver disorders, it causes intense itching in the hands and feet of expecting mothers.
More significantly, when the bile flow is interrupted and increasing bile acids are pumped into the bloodstream, unborn babies are most at risk. If the condition isn’t properly treated and monitored by an obstetrician, stillbirth may occur.
No one knows for sure what causes obstetric cholestasis as it is otherwise known. However, the evidence points to genetics as well as higher levels of hormones during pregnancy.
Bile is a type of digestive fluid that the liver produces to help break down fats.
To help restore bile function, ursodeoxycholic acid is usually prescribed for women with cholestasis of pregnancy.
Many of us already know that we can enjoy better health and well-being by the types of foods we eat. But can certain foods really help with cholestasis of pregnancy? Experts believe the answer can be heard from women who have already walked in these shoes.
In some journals, expecting mothers reported that when they made a conscious effort to eat clean and wholesome foods, less itching was experienced.
The American Liver Foundation also suggests adopting a healthy diet to promote better liver function after the diagnosis of cholestasis of pregnancy.
The cholestasis of pregnancy diet entails creating a well-rounded meal plan with certain goals in mind, one of which is placing less strain on the liver. To accomplish this, turn to lecithin.
Lecithin is a type of unsaturated fat that helps to absorb fats in the bile. There are a number of foods that are rich in lecithin, including plants and meats. Health care experts suggest incorporating a mixture of both to promote better liver health.
The American Pregnancy Association strongly advises against drinking during pregnancy. In addition to the obvious risks, alcohol can put added pressure on an already overworked liver. This should give expecting moms with obstetric cholestasis even more reason to pass up the alcohol.
Even though diet plays a significant role in managing cholestasis of pregnancy, it shouldn’t be used to substitute medical intervention. Due to the risk of stillbirth or unborn fetuses inhaling meconium toward the end of pregnancy, most health care professionals will recommend scheduling delivery at or before the 37-week mark.
The cholestasis of pregnancy diet, however, is a big piece of the puzzle for promoting a better outcome.
A good diet, in general, promotes a better quality of life. A seasoned nutritionist, along with your obstetrician, can create a best-for-now meal plan to supplement your cholestasis of pregnancy treatment.
There are also a number of online support groups to join, where you can interact with other expecting mothers and discuss symptoms and natural remedies to alleviate itching, for example.
By all accounts, always be sure to speak to your health care provider before commencing any type of treatment, including herbal or holistic models during pregnancy.