For mothers, cholestasis of pregnancy may temporarily affect the way the body absorbs fat-soluble vitamins, but this rarely impacts overall nutrition. Itching usually resolves within a few days of delivery, and subsequent liver problems are uncommon — although cholestasis is likely to recur with other pregnancies.

For babies, the complications of cholestasis of pregnancy can be more severe. For reasons not well-understood, cholestasis of pregnancy increases the risk of the baby being born too early (preterm birth). It also increases the risk of meconium — the substance that accumulates in the baby's intestines — getting into the amniotic fluid that surrounds the baby. If a baby inhales meconium during delivery, he or she may have trouble breathing. There's also a risk of fetal death late in pregnancy. Because of the potentially severe complications, your doctor may consider inducing labor around the 37th week of pregnancy.

Aug. 16, 2014