"I used to scratch like mad when i was pregnant. Little did I know that it was the sign of a deadly disease that threatened me and the baby…"
Discovering we were pregnant for the first time was the most amazing and exciting news we ever had!! My pregnancy was problem-free with no morning sickness, no fatigue, and no swollen ankles – I was very happy!
At 35 weeks, I developed a very bad itch, all over my hands, arms, legs and feet. It was so annoying, and it got to the point where I was scratching my skin off. I thought it might have been a reaction to the animals, and for the next couple of days, I tried every cream, to no avail. This itch was driving me insane, and keeping both hubby and myself awake all night.
I decided to call the hospital to try and get some tablets or at least something stronger! They asked me to see them as soon as possible as it sounded like pregnancy-related symptoms. I was immediately hooked me up to a ‘CTG’ – they put a belt around my belly. This machine listened to the baby’s heartbeat and tested movements in my womb. I had a Liver Function Test – a simple blood test. The whole experience was a bit scary, as we didn’t know what the urgency was. My Obstetrician then shocked us with the recommendation of induction within the next couple of days due to a condition called ‘Obstetric Cholestises’ (OC).
OC is an extremely rare condition that showed a high level of bile salts in my liver. It hasn’t been proven what causes it, no one knows. One theory is that the liver finds the extra oestrogen produced during pregnancy difficult to deal with. There is a rise in the level of bile salts in the blood and some babies cannot cope with this. The unborn baby needs to be delivered at 37 or 38 weeks to help prevent stillbirth.
I was shocked when I found out how dangerous it was. OC could have been fatal for my baby and dangerous for me because you are more likely to hemorrhage.
Due to my Obstetrician being quick off the mark, Ella Louise, now 3 months, was born at 36 weeks, and was a healthy 2.84kgs.
If you’re pregnant and find yourself scratching your feet on the doormat, talk to your doctor as soon as possible. Your baby could be at risk.