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

You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.