Our bodies go through a whole series of changes and symptoms when we’re pregnant, but we’re always told to seek immediate help or advice if we suspect that something may be wrong.
This was the case recently for US woman Christina DePino, who began experiencing severe itching during her pregnancy with her first child.
This wasn’t just any itching, though – it was serious enough that, months into her pregnancy, she couldn’t sleep and even ended up drawing blood.
She told CBS News: “The itching was so severe that I would wake up and I wouldn’t be able to go back to bed, and my legs and arms were scabbed and bleeding from the uncontrollable need to scratch.”
Believing it to be a regular pregnancy symptom that others had surely experienced before, 28-year-old Christina took to Facebook to ask for advice as to how to treat it. This was the first time that intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) was raised.
ICP is a condition which interrupts the normal flow of bile from the liver. Typically caused by high hormone levels, this causes bile to build up in the bloodstream, resulting in chronic itching for the mum-to-be.
It can be far more serious for the baby, however, increasing the risk of both premature birth and foetal death.
After flagging the issue with her doctor, Christina underwent blood and liver tests and was diagnosed with ICP at 36 weeks.
Christina was induced shortly after, and she and her husband Aaron are now the proud parents of a healthy baby daughter.
The new mother has since taken to Facebook to warn her friends and fellow pregnant women everywhere of ICP.
“If you’re pregnant and you’re itching really bad, don’t ignore it! Started having severe itching a few weeks ago. Thanks to a little Facebook complaining and the urging of Jennifer, Britney and Monica, I got the itch checked out and found out I had pregnancy cholestasis,” she explained.
“While it’s basically harmless for me – except for the crazy itching – it could have caused a still [birth] after 37 weeks! I was officially diagnosed last week, and had to get her out this week! We are so blessed!”
She went on to thank her friends for potentially ‘saving her precious girl’s life’.