I had a straightforward and healthy pregnancy. The only issue was itching on my arms – to the point of bleeding – from around six months. We had read about intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) and discussed the itching with professionals, but were reassured that itching is normal in pregnancy. Our close friend had knowledge of ICP and pushed us to pursue the itching further, which resulted in liver function blood tests. We attended the hospital when I was 38 + 4 weeks pregnant due to reduced movement, and I was diagnosed with ICP, which led to me being induced. Michael was born on the 21st December 2016 by emergency caesarean section due to him being in distress and passing meconium. In theatre, waiting for confirmation that he was breathing, felt like forever, and then he went straight to neonatal care. We came close to losing our gorgeous little boy and feel so lucky that he is okay.
ICP is a liver disorder unique to pregnancy. It affects around 5,500 women each year in the UK. The main symptom is severe itching, particularly on the hands and feet, but it can be anywhere on the body, as in my case.
The itching is often so severe that you scratch your skin until it bleeds, and the itching is usually worse at night. It increases the risk of spontaneous premature birth, fetal distress, meconium staining and stillbirth. Treatment includes the use of medication, regular blood tests and usually an early birth for the baby (by 38 weeks of pregnancy). The causes of ICP are not yet fully understood.
Luck should not have to come into whether a baby is born safely or not, so now that we feel strong enough physically (and more importantly emotionally) we want to do something to help prevent other people going through the traumatic experience that we did. ICP Support, work closely with other organisations to raise awareness of the condition, offers information and support to those affected as well as promoting and funding research. Various fundraising ideas were explored and we decided that we wanted to do something Michael could be involved in. We want to raise awareness of ICP and fundraise to help ICP Support keep up the vital work.
We would be extremely grateful if you could make a contribution towards this worthy cause.
We will post regular updates of our progress.
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