Every pregnancy-related death is tragic, especially because about 60% are preventable. Still, about 700 women die each year from complications of pregnancy. A pregnancy-related death can happen during pregnancy, at delivery, and even up to a year afterward (postpartum).
Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, commonly known as cholestasis of pregnancy, is a liver condition that can occur in late pregnancy. The condition triggers intense itching, but without a rash. Itching is usually on the hands and feet but also can occur on other parts of the body.
Cholestasis of pregnancy can make you very uncomfortable. But more worrisome are the potential complications, especially for your baby. Because of the risk of complications, your pregnancy care provider may recommend early term delivery around 37 weeks.
Intense itching is the main symptom of cholestasis of pregnancy. But there is no rash. Typically, you feel itchy on the palms of your hands or the soles of your feet, but you may feel itchy everywhere. The itching is often worse at night and may bother you so much that you can't sleep.
The itching is most common during the third trimester of pregnancy but sometimes begins earlier. It may feel worse as your due date gets near. But once your baby arrives, the itchiness usually goes away within a few days.
The exact cause of cholestasis of pregnancy is unclear. Cholestasis is reduced or stopped bile flow. Bile is the digestive fluid made in the liver that helps break down fats. Instead of leaving the liver for the small intestine, bile builds up in the liver. As a result, bile acids eventually enter the bloodstream. High levels of bile acids appear to cause the symptoms and complications of cholestasis of pregnancy.
If you have a history of cholestasis in a prior pregnancy, your risk of developing it during another pregnancy is high. About 60% to 70% of females have it happen again. This is called a recurrence. In severe cases, the risk of recurrence may be as high as 90%.
At 3 weeks pregnant, an ultrasound may not detect your soon-to-be-baby. That super-teeny fertilized egg (called a morula) is smaller than a grain of salt and is on the move, but as early as week 4 your doctor may be able to see your uterine lining get thicker, a sign that the little morula has reached their destination for the rest of pregnancy (you guessed it: your uterus).
Pregnancy is an emotional time, especially if your pregnancy was unplanned. It can be helpful to discuss your options with someone you trust, such as your partner, a family member or close friend. Your doctor or local family planning clinic can also give you information and advice.
If you would like to speak to someone about your pregnancy symptoms or the possibility of being pregnant, click the chat button below or call us toll free at 1-800-672-2296.
Certainly, your drinking habits play a big role in how many times you pee in a day. However, pregnancy increases the amount of blood in your body, which gives your kidneys more fluid to filter and more waste to get rid of.
We all experience bloating or constipation from time to time, but both are quite common during pregnancy. Once again, those changing hormones are the culprit. They slow down digestion, which can cause a buildup of air in the gut and lead to constipation.
Many women report that sensitivity to smell was one of their first signs of pregnancy. In fact, as many as two-thirds of women become more sensitive or reactive to the smells around them during pregnancy.
Headaches are a part of life. They come with colds and allergies. They come with stress or fatigue, or when you cut down on caffeine to help prepare your body for pregnancy. But they can also come with pregnancy.
As blood flow increases during pregnancy, blood pressure can also decrease and lead to dizzy spells. Usually, dizziness is more of a second trimester symptom, but some women may notice it very early on, too.
Pregnancy has three trimesters, each of which is marked by specific fetal developments. A pregnancy is considered full-term at 40 weeks; infants delivered before the end of week 37 are considered premature. Premature infants may have problems with their growth and development, as well as difficulties in breathing and digesting.
Your body also undergoes major changes during the first trimester. These changes often cause a variety of symptoms, including nausea, fatigue, breast tenderness and frequent urination. Although these are common pregnancy symptoms, every woman has a different experience. For example, while some may experience an increased energy level during this period, others may feel very tired and emotional.
The second trimester of pregnancy is often called the "golden period" because many of the unpleasant effects of early pregnancy disappear. During the second trimester, you're likely to experience decreased nausea, better sleep patterns and an increased energy level. However, you may experience a whole new set of symptoms, such as back pain, abdominal pain, leg cramps, constipation and heartburn.
You have now reached your final stretch of pregnancy and are probably very excited and anxious for the birth of your baby. Some of the physical symptoms you may experience during this period include shortness of breath, hemorrhoids, urinary incontinence, varicose veins and sleeping problems. Many of these symptoms arise from the increase in the size of your uterus, which expands from approximately 2 ounces before pregnancy to 2.5 pounds at the time of birth.
Blood pressure is the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as your heart pumps blood. High blood pressure, or hypertension, is when this force against your artery walls is too high. There are different types of high blood pressure in pregnancy:
Your health care provider will check your blood pressure and urine at each prenatal visit. If your blood pressure reading is high (140/90 or higher), especially after the 20th week of pregnancy, your provider will likely want to run some tests. They may include blood tests other lab tests to look for extra protein in the urine as well as other symptoms.
During the first trimester your body undergoes many changes. Hormonal changes affect almost every organ system in your body. These changes can trigger symptoms even in the very first weeks of pregnancy. Your period stopping is a clear sign that you are pregnant. Other changes may include:
As your body changes, you might need to make changes to your daily routine, such as going to bed earlier or eating frequent, small meals. Fortunately, most of these discomforts will go away as your pregnancy progresses. And some women might not feel any discomfort at all! If you have been pregnant before, you might feel differently this time around. Just as each woman is different, so is each pregnancy.
Thyroid problems can be hard to diagnose in pregnancy due to higher levels of thyroid hormones and other symptoms that occur in both pregnancy and thyroid disorders. Some symptoms of hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism are easier to spot and may prompt your doctor to test you for these thyroid diseases.
Doctors most often treat pregnant women with the antithyroid medicine propylthiouracil (PTU) during the first 3 months of pregnancy. Another type of antithyroid medicine, methimazole, is easier to take and has fewer side effects, but is slightly more likely to cause serious birth defects than PTU. Birth defects with either type of medicine are rare. Sometimes doctors switch to methimazole after the first trimester of pregnancy. Some women no longer need antithyroid medicine in the third trimester.
If you are allergic to or have severe side effects from antithyroid medicines, your doctor may consider surgery to remove part or most of your thyroid gland. The best time for thyroid surgery during pregnancy is in the second trimester.
Pregnancy is an exciting time. You will soon become a parent to an adorable, tiny human. You may expect to experience the rollercoaster of emotions during pregnancy, or emotions may catch you off guard. Some women feel joy at every flutter or kick, marveling at their changing bodies. For other women, pregnancy is hard, giving no reprieve as it brings severe fatigue, mood changes, and constant worries. You may notice that with every passing month, your thoughts are spiraling out of control, affecting your performance at work and your relationships at home. But how do you manage your anxiety, and should you treat it?
Worries during pregnancy are universal. Hormonal changes of pregnancy, prior heartbreaking miscarriages, and sleep difficulties may all contribute to anxiety for mothers-to-be. You may worry about how a baby will affect your relationships with friends or family members, the health of your future child, the delivery experience, or the financial burden of an additional family member. All of these worries are completely normal. For humans, a certain amount of anxiety is protective; how else could we motivate ourselves to complete our work or run away from a bear?
Anxiety can occur at any time during pregnancy, or it may first appear after delivery (perinatal anxiety is the term used for anxiety during pregnancy and after delivery). The rates of generalized anxiety disorder appear to be highest in the first trimester, likely due to hormonal changes. The most common symptoms of anxiety include constant worrying, restlessness, muscle tension, irritability, feeling dread, an inability to concentrate, and difficulties falling asleep due to worries. Some women also experience symptoms as a result of other anxiety disorders, including panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder.
Unfortunately, two of the most common mental health screening tools in pregnancy (the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Screen and Generalized Anxiety Disorder 7-item Scale) are not great at detecting anxiety in pregnancy. Although underdiagnosed, anxiety disorders during pregnancy and in the postpartum period are common, and may affect up to one in five women. Many women suffer in silence. 2b1af7f3a8