Call the Midwife actress Helen George was proud and delighted to see that last night’s episode shed light on a “sometimes fatal condition” which many pregnant women face, including herself.
Taking to Instagram this afternoon, the mum-of-two shared that she herself suffered from Cholestasis during both of her pregnancies, the latter of which she said was “uncomfortable and painful.”
Cholestasis of pregnancy is a liver problem condition, which slows or stops the normal flow of bile from the gallbladder, which can cause problems for your developing baby. Some of the main side effects are itching and yellowing of the skin, eyes and jaundice.
It can sometimes start in early pregnancy, but it’s more common to take place in the second or third trimester.
Sharing her experience with the condition, the 37-year-old actress said, “In 2017 when I gave birth to our daughter Wren, I was diagnosed with this condition. I knew there was a high chance that I would suffer again with my second pregnancy, but I was under the most incredible specialists/doctors/midwives/health worker at Guys and St Thomas’s. So I felt safe.”
“I started getting the itch a lot earlier with this pregnancy and it was infuriating. I tried everything, creams, baths all of it and nothing would work. I would scratch all day and all night, normally on my hands, shoulders, feet but that quickly increased to just bloody everywhere. I was put onto medication (Urso) at around 30 wks,” Helen continued.
Reassuring her followers, Helen said that her bile acids were stable, meaning that her now three-month-old daughter, Lark, “was okay and the pregnancy progressing well. But the medication did little for the itch and urge to scratch myself raw.”
“I have to say this pregnancy was so uncomfortable and painful. I thought the second would be easier but it really wasn’t,” she confessed.
“Pre term birth is always a possibility with this condition but I was so hoping it wouldn’t come to that. However, for me it did. I started having contractions whilst away but managed to race back to London and my obstetrician.”
Helen underwent an emergency C-section, with her baby girl being born on November 16, to their chosen music, The Lark Ascending. “The relief when we heard her first cry was overwhelming, a release of months of anxiety and the fear that this moment may not play out quite so successfully,” Helen admitted, adding, “Lark was born early but healthy and is doing so well.”
Going on to praise the wonderful people at ICP Support, who guided her every step of the way and answered any questions she had, Helen said, “Please, if you are worried you may have Cholestasis in Pregnancy or have been diagnosed and need any advice, do reach out to them.”
“Spreading the word about this sometimes fatal condition is really important to me. I was over the moon that Call the Midwife tackled the subject last night.”