A lot of crazy stuff happens to your body when you’re pregnant — stretch marks, weird cravings, swollen limbs. But what about incessant itching across your belly? That’s what happened to British mother Magdalen Rees when she was pregnant with her first child, and though the doctor reassured her that it was nothing, three weeks later she lost her healthy unborn child.
What happened? According to doctors, Magdalen had intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP), a liver disorder that occurs in pregnant women, caused by high levels of bile acids — the chemicals in your stomach that aid digestion. When left untreated, ICP can kill the child, as bile acids are toxic if they’re allowed to accumulate.
But expectant moms need not freak out over the occasional itch, as some itching comes with the territory due to skin stretching or increased blood to the area. It’s only when the itching becomes so persistent or spreads to the limbs that you should get it checked out right away.
The good news: Once you’ve caught ICP, it’s very treatable. Doctors will administer a medication called ursodeoxycholic acid — UDCA or urso — which replaces the harmful bile acids and both relieved the itching and protects the baby. Phew!
Had you heard of this unusual disorder? Let us know in the comments.