Symptoms of ICP (Intrahepatic Cholestasis)


Itching is often the only symptom noticed by a woman who suffers from ICP. The itching will typically increase in severity until either treatment is implemented or delivery takes place. The itching is often more pronounced on the bottom of the hands and feet and will increase with blood flow. Although itching sounds like a minor symptom, to a woman who suffers with ICP, it can be a life hindering problem. Loss of sleep, loss of appetite, and an inability to perform normal daily tasks can be a result of the intense itching!

Please keep in mind that some itching is normal in pregnancy. ICP itching is usually distinguished by the fact that a woman will itch all over her entire body. Some women scratch themselves so frantically that they make themselves bleed. It is important to note that itching is often overlooked by doctors because of the fact that it is often a normal side affect of pregnancy. If a woman finds herself itching more than normal, it is important she request a Serum Bile Acid test as soon as possible.

Dark urine

The biochemical reactions that take place during ICP often create darker colored urine. You might notice that after you "go potty" that the tiolet looks much darker than normal. This is often a sign of dehydration, but it can point to ICP as well.


Although it is more uncommon to have jaundice in the mother, it does sometimes occur during ICP. If you notice a pale yellow appearance to the skin or eyes, please seek medical attention.


Although fatigue is very common all throughout pregnancy, ICP can also cause fatigue through stress, loss of sleep and the malabsorption of some vitamins and minerals.

Premature Labor

Another possible sign and symptom of ICP is the onset of premature labor. Early delivery in mothers with ICP is encouraged, but delivering too early can be dangerous. You may wish to talk to your doctor about taking precautions such as taking a steroid shot to help the baby with developing his or her lungs.

Symptoms NOT usually associated with ICP

A rash is not usually associated with ICP, although one many develop that is caused by all the scratching. Some women report having splotchy, red, hot to-the-touch, hands and feet.

It is not normal for ICP to worsen after delivery. If this happens, more testing should be done to rule an underlying liver disorder. However, it should be noted that in severe cases of cholestasis or after repeated cases, it can take several months for liver functions to return to normal. Some women have reported it taking as long as a full year for blood work to return to pre-ICP levels.

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