Could It Be Pregnancy Cholestasis?

What No One Warned Me About

By Ashlyn 2 Comments

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No one ever told me about the intense itch that comes at the end of pregnancy.

Holy. Guacamole.

There’s no rash. No fever or headaches. No fatigue. No nausea. No dark urine. No pale stool.

But the itch is intense. INTENSE!!!

Let me share my story.

Two Weeks Ago
The palms of my hands and soles of my feet were so itchy that they woke me up in the middle of the night. It felt like I was having an allergic reaction to something, but it was manageable. I was able to fall back asleep after waking the hubby with the scratching noises I’d been making. Being the good husband he is, he googled up some information and gave me a cold towel to wring my hands on.

It felt relieving. And my feet? I just found a cooler side of the bed to rest them on. All was well.

Three Days Later
The itching spread in between my fingers and toes. There still wasn’t a rash or anything, but the intensity of the itchiness increased.

I had an appointment that morning, so I asked my doc if this was something I should be concerned about and she explained that because there was no rash present, and I wasn’t experiencing any fever or dark urine, there was nothing to worry about. She said that it was a burst of the estrogen hormone that’s causing the itchiness.

Not fun.

One Week Later
I couldn’t sleep at all. The itching spread throughout my entire body and was noticeably worse at night. Still no rash, and no amount of scratching would satisfy the itch.

I scratched and scratched until I thought I was gonna start bleeding, but thankfully I hadn’t. Even the inside of my ears itched! I somewhat satisfied that itch by twisting a cotton swab back and forth in my ear.

It was 5:20 am when Aaron woke up to use the bathroom. He saw that I was still scratching and suggested that I dip myself in a bath of warm water (he googled that, too). I was a bit skeptical about emerging myself in warm water because I thought the heat would reactivate the itchiness, but it was actually the most soothing thing ever. Yes, the itching was still there, but to feel even a tiny sense of relief was a flippin’ miracle.

I let myself soak like a prune before patting myself dry and climbing back into bed in the nude. Clothes were not my friend that night.

The Morning After
I called my doctor and told her that this couldn’t be normal. The itchiness had kept me up all night and I was afraid that I might have Obstetric Cholestasis, a rare condition that affects women in late pregnancy where the bile cannot flow properly from the liver (I googled that). If left unidentified, the unborn baby could die inside the womb.

She thanked me for letting her know about the itchiness getting worse and told me to go to the nearest lab to get my blood drawn for testing.

That was today.

My blood test results should be ready within a few days since they have to send a few viles to the mainland for testing. If the results are positive for cholestasis, I’ll need to be induced SOON to save the baby’s life. If the results are negative, but I’m still experiencing itching, the tests will have to continue on.

This is definitely a scare for me, but I’m trying to stay positive about everything. I have another weekly appointment tomorrow morning and hopefully I’ll be able to get some sleep tonight since I got about 2 hours worth last night due to this itching. Wish me luck!

Have you experienced something that you weren’t ever told to expect? Please share your experience with me!

UPDATE: April 26, 2016

My OB/GYN told me that cholestasis happens to about 1% of pregnant women (guess I got lucky). It’s also VERY rare to have it again during any future pregnancies! If you believe you are suffering from cholestatis, PLEASE call your doctor.

By the way, we’ve got a full community thread based on pregnancy issues like cholestasis in our Moms In Training Community. Join us today!


I’m a writer, new mom and foodie. I love sharing what I know while making others feel beautiful. On this blog, I share my healthy lifestyle, simple meals, fitness tips and experiences.

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