Pregnancy Itching A Warning Sign? Mom Shares Nearly Losing Baby From Rare Pregnancy Complication

By Amanda Moore, Parent Herald April 07, 04:00 am
Pregnant moms with severe itching of the hands and feet on the last trimester should get a blood chemistry to rule out a harmful disease.
(Photo : Stuart C. Wilson/Getty Images)

A mom who experienced pregnancy itching wants the warning bells raised for other parents. Christina DePino, 28, developed severe itching during her last term. It was a good thing she had this pregnancy complication checked as she nearly lost her baby.

DePino was in her 36th week when her pregnancy itching started. She first thought it was environment-related, having moved from Louisiana to Michigan. The itch became so severe, however, that the mom ended up with scabs and bleeding wounds as she couldn't control the scratching.

"It started to keep me awake at night," DePino said, as per CBS News. "It got to the point that I was no longer able to sleep at all."

DePino sought doctors after friends said her pregnancy itching might be a symptom of an underlying condition. After some blood work, doctors determined she had intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP).

ICP affects liver and gallbladder functions. Pregnancy hormones cause the bile to back up into the bloodstream and itching is one of the symptoms. ICP affects one in 1,000 pregnancies, as per the American Pregnancy Association.

Had DePino ignored the warning signs her baby risked fetal death. The mom chose to induce her delivery at 37 weeks to ensure her baby is safe. She and her husband are now parents of a healthy baby girl.

DePino turned to Facebook to let other moms know of ICP. She advised pregnant mothers not to ignore the itching, especially during the last trimester. Diagnosis for ICP wass simple as only a blood sample is needed.

ICP symptoms include itching on the hands or soles of the feet. It occurs more frequently during evenings. Taking antihistamines won't relieve the itching and there is no known cure for ICP.

The condition goes away after pregnancy, so there are no added worries for moms. The outcomes, however, are risky for the baby inside the womb, thus DePino made the right decision.

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