Pregnancy does not usually have a major effect on liver enzymes. If they are elevated, it indicates liver disorder. Liver disorder occurs in about 2-3% of pregnancies. To enumerate some of the medical complications concerning the liver that affect women during pregnancy are:
Hyper emesis gravidarum
Cholestasis of pregnancy
Acute fatty liver of pregnancy
Know about them all :
Hyper emesis- Severe nausea and vomiting of pregnancy which occurs in early pregnancy may last up to 20 weeks. Patient may need hospitalisation. Many of these patients have elevated liver enzymes, weight loss and dehydration but they usually are responsive to treatment.
Pre eclampsia and HELLP disorder- Characterised by increase in BP, swelling in body and proteinuria. Due to abnormal function of endothelium, may cause HELLP i.e. hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelet count. It is a life threatening disorder and needs immediate medical attention.
Acute fatty liver of pregnancy- Fat accumulates in the liver and causes increased liver enzymes and needs urgent delivery of baby.
Cholestasis of pregnancy- Some women have severe itching over body in late pregnancy. Cause is usually cholestasis of pregnancy. In this disorder, due to hormonal reasons flow of bile in gall bladder is effected and leads to collection of bile acids in liver and spill in the blood stream. Symptoms are itching, dark coloured urine, light coloured stools, fatigue, loss of appetite, jaundice, right upper quadrant pain abdomen, nausea and vomiting.It increases the risk of fetal distress, preterm birth or still birth. It needs monitoring of baby and induction of labour once lung maturity is achieved. Topical and oral medication is given to relieve itching, corticosteroids are given for fetal lung maturity, vitamin K is given for accompanying bleeding disorder.It usually improves rapidly after delivery. Chances of cholestasis in next pregnancy are high.
Hepatitis- Can cause elevated liver enzymes during pregnancy. Hepatitis is usually dangerous during pregnancy and needs close monitoring of mother and baby. Unhygienic food and beverages should be avoided to prevent the spread of HAV and HEVSo if you have jaundice or itching during pregnancy, don’t ignore it do consult your doctor. It can have serious implications on the mother and baby both.