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HELP! Random itching at end of 3rd Tri. Need suggestions!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hey there!

I am writing for my dear SIL who is 37 weeks along, and suffering from terrible, full-body itching these days. It can be anywhere, but is worse on her extremities.

It started a week or two ago, and there is nothing on her skin, at all! Just a random itching that comes and goes but is worse at night. Doesn't seem to be PUPPPS because her skins seems to be completely normal.

She has tried oatmeal baths, super-duper moisturizing, and a Benadryl two different times, but nothing seems to really help.

Anyone know what she can try?
post #2 of 7
ugh, this sounds like obstetric cholestasis (also goes by another name...like intraheptic cholestasis of pregnancy or something like that...abbreviated ICP)...I had it with DS and it's awful...I barely slept most of the 3rd trimester because the itching was so bad on my hands & feet at night that I couldn't sleep! Unfortunately, nothing really seemed to help me, but maybe her doctor/midwife can suggest something. I found that if my husband rubbed my feet (very lightly, mainly just with his fingertips), it made the itching subside a little bit...basically only while he was doing it, but sometimes it was enough to get me to relax enough to get a little sleep! Hope your SIL can find some relief!
post #3 of 7
Apparently cholestasis of pregnancy can be very dangerous. Visit itchymoms.com for more info. Let your SIL know... and best wishes to her.
post #4 of 7
Yes, it can be dangerous, but not much seems to be known about the condition, so what type of care she receives will depend heavily on how much experience the OB/midwife has had with the condition. My OB, for example, seemed to be completely ignorant about it...in fact, I diagnosed myself and she (reluctantly) ran the blood test and found that I was right...she had diagnosed me with PUPPs (in fact, insisted that it was PUPP), which I had already looked up and I didn't really have any of the symptoms associated with that (besides the itching). And when she ordered the treatment, she prescribed a medication that was no longer recommended for cholestasis as it was found to have ill effects on the baby (my FIL is a pharmacist and argued on the phone with the OB about this). It seemed like she just looked up cholestasis in whatever (obviously outdated) medical book she had and followed the suggested course.

So anyhoo, I guess what I would suggest to your SIL is to do a lot of research on her own and don't assume the OB knows what she's talking about, especially if she seems like she's never encountered cholestasis before! itchymoms is a good site (I had forgotten about that one!), but there's also a lot of other good research out there. And do a search on here for cholestasis because I know there are a few threads on here about it that likely have a lot of good links in them, too! Good luck!
post #5 of 7
Another Cholestasis mama here. It's HORRIBLE.

I was prescribed Actigall, and that made my itching go away completely. I was very lucky in that mine didn't show up until 39 weeks (immediately after a stomach virus, so I think the two were related). Usually they induce at 37 weeks for Cholestasis of Pregnancy.

My midwives' consulting OBs decided that they'd let me go to 40 weeks and try to get into labor myself. I didn't quite succeed, so we induced on my due date. Not exactly the cozy birth center birth I had envisioned, but at least my daughter is here safely.

Cholestasis has a lot of very very scary info online, and it is definitely something that needs to be taken seriously. However, remember that the risks, while elevated, are still very very low. So help your sister to not freak out if she reads about increased risk of stillbirth... the risk is still low. But it is high enough that they feel babies are safer outside the womb than in it, especially since it's a condition they don't understand very well. The stillbirth rate goes up significantly after 37 weeks.

And, like the PP, I had diagnosed myself, and the tests just confirmed it. It's the most horrid itching ever. My was on my hands and feet. I wanted to scratch my feet off at night.
post #6 of 7
It is also possible to almost have cholestasis. Or to have it and get better by yourself. I'm not sure which happened to me, but I had the itching and elevated liver enyzmes with my son, but the levels went down again. And by the time I got the serum bile acid test it was normal. Everything settled down and I delivered my son naturally at 40+4. The itching is terrible though. Hopefully hers will clear up too!
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Just wanted to give you guys a quick update.

My SIL saw her OB, and after talking about the itching again, the OB actually brought up ICL, and suggested that they do the blood tests to rule it out before my SIL even had time to bring it up.

I am SO thankful to you guys for the suggestion, and so relieved that her OB was so forward-thinking in handling the situation.

My SIL is 38 weeks tomorrow, and the itching doesn't seem to be getting consistently worse, and is even somewhat lighter at times. So hopefully, she either doesn't have ICL, or has a mild, late-developing case. She'll get the blood work back in a few days.

I'll keep you posted!
Thanks again, especially for the personal stories and for the reminders to not get too worried yet!!
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