Itching During Pregnancy A Sign That Baby Might Be In Danger

Josephine Thompson

Journalist

Christina Depino, 28, started feeling an incredible itch late in her pregnancy. At first, she didn't think about it much, since she though it might be a part of normal pregnancy stretching or the affect of her moving from Louisiana to a much drier Monroe, Michigan. However, 36 weeks into her pregnancy, she was diagnosed with intathepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP - not to be confused with Insane Clown Posse, which can only be diagnosed post pregnancy). It occurs when high hormone levels from the pregnancy interrupt the flow of bile between gall bladder and liver.

The doctors also told her that her baby could be subjected to severe complications - including a stillbirth. That's why she went into induced birthing a week later, delivering a healthy little girl.

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"The itching was so bad that I’d lay awake in the night on the bed, with my arms and legs crusted over and bleeding from the irrepressible urge to scratch," Christina told reporters. She first asked her Facebook friends for help, and some pointed out that ICP might be the case.

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"The doctor told me that though all the reasons are not completely understood, mothers with ICP are at higher risk of losing their babies after 37 weeks," said Christina. "He added that getting induced for early birth was my choice and that it is possible for infants to survive the entire term."

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"If you are pregnant and itching badly, do not ignore it!" Christina later wrote on Facebook. "Don’t disregard any itch, getting just a blood test could save your child’s life." The common symptoms of ICP are: severe itching of the palms and feet (but not limited to them) without a rash showing up, increased itching at night, and anti-itch remedies being ineffective.

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