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Papers of the Week

2022 Apr 04

J Midwifery Womens Health

Navigating Uncertainty: A Case Study of Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy.


Blumenfeld J, Koo K
J Midwifery Womens Health. 2022 Apr 04.
PMID: 35373493.


Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP), the most common liver disorder of pregnancy, is associated with complications for both a pregnant person and their fetus. The underlying cause is not well understood. The pruritus associated with ICP is uncomfortable for pregnant people; however, the primary concern is the fetal risk. Fetal risks include preterm labor and birth and intrauterine fetal demise. This is particularly significant for certain populations because of the disparities in incidence of ICP; in the United States, it disproportionately affects Latinx people, the largest and fastest-growing minority population. Diagnosis, monitoring, and treatment of ICP are vital to reduce discomfort from pruritis and avoid potential fetal demise. However, diagnosis and treatment are complicated by the lack of definitive diagnostic criteria, the frequent delay in laboratory analysis, and the cost of treatment. This case report aims to improve midwives' familiarity with ICP and discusses the epidemiology, risk factors, presentation, diagnostic criteria, and available management strategies for this disease as well as the importance of anticipatory guidance regarding increased lifetime risk of ICP in future pregnancies and hepatobiliary disease. Additionally, it discusses the challenges involved in diagnosis and access to treatment. Prompt diagnosis and initiation of treatment may reduce fetal morbidity and mortality.