I had a comment on a previous post about my obstetric cholestasis(OC), about how rare it is.
This is a very popular misconception. OC is not a rare condition, it affects 1 in 200 pregnancies. This may sound like quite a small proportion but when you consider that roughly 1900 babies are born in the UK every day, it turns into quite a lot of people. When you consider that it is routine to inject babies with vitamin K at birth which can prevent a brain bleed in 1 in 10,000 babies, we are prescribed antenatal vitamins with folic acid to prevent spina bifida which can occur in 1 in 1000 pregnancies, it seems unforgivable that OC, a relatively easy condition to control and manage, has such a low profile.
Having OC does not automatically lead on to a stillbirth, in a properly managed pregnancy the risks of stillbirth are the same as in a non OC pregnancy. The important bit of that sentence is 'properly managed'. If you do not know there is a problem you cannot take it to your healthcare professional and you cannot be 'properly managed'. If your medical team ignore your concerns or are unaware of up to date research in the area, it cannot be 'properly' managed.
All the baby books and sites say that itching in pregnancy is normal. It's the skin stretching. It could be a symptom of a very rare condition that causes itching but will subside after birth. (Lets play down the risks!!!)
The problem with OC is the lack of knowledge about it. I have heard stories of women who have scratched the skin raw because of this itch and doctors have point blank refused to do the simple blood test that is required to diagnose it.
They don't know why it causes stillbirth. The stillborn babies have no detectable problems. They just stopped living. In a post mortem it comes up as 'unexplained death'. As they cannot as yet determine why OC causes stillbirth there are some people still (I'm talking consultant obstetricians here) who do not believe it does.
http://www.ocsupport.org.uk/ For further information.
Remember scratching can be more than just an itch.