Obstetric Cholestasis – Everything You Need To Know

Obstetric Cholestasis (OC) also known as Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP) or Cholestasis of Pregnancy is a very rare medical condition that occurs during pregnancy.


This complication occurs in the third trimester due to the decrease in the flow of bile through bile duct in the liver. Thus bile acid gets built up in the bloodstream causing severe itching, especially on the soles of the feet and palms of the hands. Itching may occur on other parts of the body like belly, breasts, face, back etc. Sometimes, the itching is continuous and becomes unbearable and is even worse during the night.


Causes of Obstetric Cholestasis:


Though the exact causes of obstetric cholestasis are not clear, it is believed that the following factors are responsible for this medical complication.

  • Hormones: When a woman gets pregnant, hormones like progesterone and oestrogen increase to a great level. The increase may hinder the passing out of the bile through the bile duct and thus affects the liver causing obstetric cholestasis.
  • Genetic factors: Sometimes, genetic factors may also be responsible for the occurrence of obstetric cholestasis. Though some generations may skip this problem, it may occur in the next generation. And if you have suffered from this condition during your first pregnancy, then there is more chance of being affected again.
  • Environmental factors: Environmental factors are also thought to play a role in the occurrence of this disease.


  • Unbearable itching all over the body without rashes
  • Occasionally there may be jaundice

Diagnosis of OC

If the pregnant woman has the potential symptoms of OC, doctors will recommend some tests, including a blood test through which the functioning of the liver along with the levels of bile acids in the blood could be measured.

Effect of Obstetric Cholestasis on the Expectant Mother

Though OC is not very harmful to the expectant mother, in some cases, itching becomes very severe. You may keep awake during nights because of itching, resulting in tiredness and exhaustion. Sometimes, it may take longer to stop your bleeding as the ability of blood clotting may decrease due to the occurrence of OC.

Effect of Obstetric Cholestasis on the Baby

Due to OC in the mother, the baby might pass its first faeces even before birth. This might cause breathing problem in the baby.  Rarely, premature delivery might be required.

Treatment of Obstetric Cholestasis

OC usually resolves after birth. Doctors may advise aqueous cream with menthol or calamine lotion which will give you temporary relief and recommend medications. Medications help in minimizing the build up of bile salts in the blood. Delivery may be scheduled prior to your delivery date. After delivery of the baby, the itching will diminish with the passing of time.

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10 Power Foods to Eat During Pregnancy

For good health, a healthy diet is always important; And during pregnancy, its importance becomes all the more significant. After you conceive and your baby starts growing, it has variety of nutritional needs.  All these are received only from the mother. So, it is very necessary that the pregnant woman eats properly. Eating properly doesn’t mean that she has to eat for two, but she has to eat a healthy and balanced diet which contains all the nutrients needed for the healthy development of the baby.


With relatives and friends making a variety of suggestions regarding what food to eat and what not to during pregnancy, it sometimes becomes very confusing.  In order to get rid of such confusions, you can consult your doctor regarding a healthy and balanced diet.


To help you, we have prepared a list of ten power foods which you can eat during your pregnancy.

Yoghurt: Compared to milk, plain yogurt comes loaded with more calcium which is essential for the healthy development of your baby’s teeth, bones and nails. At least two to three servings of yoghurt on a daily basis are necessary for an expecting woman to meet the nutritional needs.

Eggs: They are very important for a mother-to-be as they provide you with good quality protein. They are also a great source of iron, Vitamin A and B12 . You can eat eggs in any form — hard boiled, omelette or scrambled.

Sweet Potatoes: Most of us don’t consider sweet potatoes as a healthy vegetable as we are unaware of its nutritional values. Sweet potatoes are loaded with potassium, fibre, iron, vitamin B6, vitamin C, copper and beta-carotene which are very essential for a pregnant woman. The presence of the anti-oxidant, beta-carotene helps in the development of skin, bones and eyes of your baby.

Nuts: During pregnancy, it is very natural to have food cravings which may lead to having unhealthy snacks. So, in order to satisfy your hunger pangs, you can have nuts which are rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins and brain boosting Omega 3 fatty acids.

Beans & Lentils: You can add beans and lentils to your diet chart as they provide essential nutrients such as complex carbs, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, iron, fibres, proteins and zinc. Presence of zinc helps in lowering the risk of low birth weight, prolonged labour and premature delivery.

Leafy Green Vegetables: Adding green leafy vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, asparagus etc. to the diet chart of a pregnant woman is very beneficial. Presence of vitamin A helps in the development of the baby’s eyesight. In addition, green leafy vegetables contain potassium, fibre, iron, folate, calcium and anti-oxidants.

Lean Meat: Rich in vitamin B and iron, lean meat helps in the production of red blood cells. It also helps in preventing anaemia during pregnancy. Apart from this, lean meat helps in the proper development of the baby’s nervous system.

Salmon: An excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids and proteins, salmon plays a key role in development of your baby’s brain. Salmon is also an excellent source of vitamin B12, vitamin D, and selenium.

Oats: Rich in vitamin B1, fibres and proteins, oats with a low glycemic index gives you an energy boost that keeps you active throughout the day.  The fibre from oats also supports healthy digestion.


Bananas: They help to maintain a healthy balance of fluids and reduce fluid retention as they contain a good amount of potassium. One of the best sources of vitamin B6, with one large banana providing 50% of the RDI. Vitamin B6 helps the body to make red blood cells, and neurotransmitters such as serotonin (the ‘feel-good’ hormone). They also provide a lot of energy and a good source of good fibre.
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