Jaundice in Pregnancy

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What is jaundice?

Jaundice is a condition of the liver and can have many causes including medication (particularly paracetamol), liver diseases such as hepatitis, acute fatty liver and alcoholism.
Pregnant women need to pay particular attention to this problem as it can be life threatening to both them and their baby and often is mistaken for morning sickness or other pregnancy changes.
Symptoms of jaundice in pregnancy

• Yellowing of the eyes
• Yellowish tinge to the skin
• Dark colored urine
• Itching of the skin
• Light colored stools
• Weakness
• Loss of appetite
• Headache
• Nausea and vomiting
• Fever
• Swelling around the liver region
• Swelling of the legs, ankle, and feet

Diagnosis of jaundice

To diagnose jaundice the doctor may do a liver function test, a urine test, a blood test or ultrasound scan of your liver. In extreme cases where severe cirrhosis is suspected a liver biopsy may be necessary.

Treatment for Jaundice in Pregnancy

Your blood test (and if needed, a CT scan) reports will help your doctor confirm jaundice and identify its cause too. Jaundice is usually an indicator of an underlying problem. Your doctor will treat the underlying cause of your jaundice, keeping your pregnancy in mind:
• Causes of jaundice like Hepatitis A, go away on its own and usually may not need treatment.
• If your jaundice is a side-effect of Malaria, your doctor will suggest the right treatment to you.
• In case jaundice during pregnancy is a result of cirrhosis, extreme hepatitis, or liver cancer it will demand serious medical attention.

How to prevent Jaundice during pregnancy

Preventing jaundice is just an extension of sensible healthy lifestyle.
A sensible diet, a good exercise regime, weight loss, avoiding alcohol and being careful to keep vaccinations up to date are all the measures that should be taken.
Jaundice is just another illness that can be managed and avoided by sensible precautions. Take good care of yourself and baby will be happy and well!

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