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Pregnancy isone of the most sensitive periods in a woman’s life. Women experience hormonalchanges and their body react to these changes in many ways. Because of thehormones, mild medical conditions might become a real threat, to both motherand the unborn child.

Liver problemscan also be very serious condition for an expecting mom, because of thepotential liver complications. Elevated liver enzymes, abnormal bile flow orjust viral infections may affect the liver and cause different health problemsin pregnant women.

LiverProblems in Pregnancy

Acute FattyLiver

The accumulationof the fat in the liver cells may cause fatty liver disorder. Women having thisdisorder usually suffer from serious headaches, associated with abdominal painand vomiting. Patients experiencing high jaundice levels are found to be atrisk of developing this condition, also. Acute fatty liver is a rare medicalcondition, but it may further complicate and lead to the failure of the liveror kidneys.


Hepatitis virusesA, B and C are the known causes of hepatitis (liver inflammation). Yellowing ofthe skin and eyes (also known as jaundice) are the most common symptoms ofhepatitis. Other symptoms include: extreme tiredness, lack of appetite andabdominal problems. Hepatitis B virus can be transferred from the mother to theunborn child, and the risk varies from 20 to 90%.

IntrahepaticCholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP)

ICP isusually caused with the problems in bile flow and the accumulation of acids. Thisis one of the most common liver problems in pregnant women, and the womensuffering from this condition suffer from itching, rashes, and tiredness andanxiety attacks. Physical symptoms are also obvious, including the jaundice,and changes in the color of the urine and blood in the stool. The unborn babymay also be at risk because of this condition, for it can cause meconiumstaining, pre-term birth or in extreme cases even death of a child.


Preeclampsiapatients experience elevated liver enzymes and liver swelling, and the mostrecognizable symptom is hypertension (high blood pressure). Most commonly, thiscondition is diagnosed in the third trimester and it might damage the liver,and also cause seizures, stroke or lead to lethal consequences, compromisingthe life of both mother and the child.


HELLP standsfor the symptoms of this condition, including: Hemolytic anemia, Elevated liverenzymes and very Low Platelet count in the blood. This form of a preeclampsia isa severe liver problem in pregnant women. It may cause placenta abruptiondemanding a pre-term delivery of a baby. HELLP can also cause serious problemsfor the mother, including: stroke, bleeding, or kidney failure. There were alsosome death cases caused by this syndrome.

Possible Treatments

When itcomes to the treatment, a golden rule for pregnant women is to avoid the medications unless themom’s or the baby’s health are seriously threatened.

Serious healthrisks are treated with medications: antihistamines for the ICP and vaccinationfor hepatitis. Preeclampsia, HELLP syndrome and fatty liver can’t be treatedand in most cases doctors decide to deliver the baby. If the baby is under 34weeks old, he/she might be given some medications to mature the lungs and thendelivered.

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