Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) complicates approximately 0.2% to 2% of pregnancies and can lead to increased fetal risks in pregnancy.
This review aims to increase the knowledge of women's health care providers regarding the diagnosis, management, and fetal risks associated with ICP.
The diagnosis of ICP is based on symptoms of pruritus that typically include the palms and soles, as well as elevated bile acid levels. Other liver function tests such as alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase are also frequently elevated, and other causes of liver dysfunction should be ruled out. Fetal risks of ICP include increased risk of preterm birth, meconium-stained amniotic fluid, respiratory distress syndrome, or stillbirth. There is evidence that as bile acid levels increase, so does the risk of adverse neonatal outcomes. Ursodeoxycholic acid treatment has been shown to improve maternal pruritus symptoms, as well as biochemical tests, but no treatment has been shown to definitively improve fetal outcomes.
Conclusions and Relevance
Providers should be aware of the signs and symptoms of ICP and provide accurate diagnosis and management of affected women. Women with a diagnosis of ICP should be treated with ursodeoxycholic acid to improve maternal symptoms. Given the increased risk of stillbirth in the setting of ICP, delivery may be considered at 37 weeks' gestation.
Obstetricians and gynecologists, family physicians.
After completing this activity, the learner should be better able to identify symptoms of and diagnose ICP, counsel patients on neonatal risks associated with the diagnosis of ICP, and provide treatment for women with a diagnosis of ICP.