Pregnancy is a wonderful time of anticipation, heartburn and people coming out of the woodwork to present you with old wives’ tales like they’re a rare gift. Everywhere you turn, someone has an anecdote or bit of advice.
Most of it is well-meaning, though not all of it is helpful, especially because mothers-to-be are already flooded with fears about potential difficulties.
But when it comes to easily missed warning signs linked to conditions that are more common than you’d think, it pays to be aware and to have a knowledgeable support team.
Christina DePino of Denham Springs, Louisiana, was in the final stretch of pregnancy in 2017 when she logged in to Facebook to air her pregnancy grievances.
She was at 35 weeks and had noticed a horrible itching sensation.
“What had started as an all-over itch started to become more pronounced on the palms of my hands and the soles of my feet,” she told NBC’s “Today“.
“It got to the point that I could no longer sleep at night … my arms and legs were bleeding from all the scratching.”
Some friends piped up and responded to her post, urging her to go get checked out because her terrible itching sounded a lot like cholestasis.
“Very simply, cholestasis is the sludge of your gallbladder building up and becoming more sluggish — and as a result, chemicals build up in your bloodstream that should have been eliminated,” Dr. Donnica Moore told the outlet. “And that can deposit beneath the skin and cause this terrible, terrible itching.”
“One of the most important acts of daily living — especially during pregnancy — is sleep,” she added.
“So anything that interferes with that — aside from ‘OK, this baby is kicking me all night’ or ‘I have to get up and pee every three hours’ — anything short of something you know is extremely normal is worth a phone call to your doctor.”
DePino went in for testing and found out she had intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy — a condition that wouldn’t really harm her, but could result in the death of her baby.
Lexa Rae was brought into the world at 37 weeks and two days, for her own safety. She was a healthy baby and DePino is eternally grateful that her friends replied to her post and alerted her to the condition.
“As soon as I was holding my beautiful baby girl in my arms, all I could think was, ‘What if?'” she said. “What if I had not complained on Facebook? What if no one had told me?
“All I could think was that I had to let other women know. I didn’t want any of them to wonder what had happened to their perfectly healthy baby.”
“If [you’re] pregnant & [you’re] itching REALLY bad, don’t ignore it!!” she posted on Facebook in March 2017.
“Started having severe itching a few weeks ago, (it was keeping me up at night) thanks to a little Facebook complaining & the urging of Jennifer, Britney & Monica, I got the itch checked out & found out I had pregnancy Cholestasis, which is basically harmless for me — except for the crazy itching — But could have caused a still born after 37 weeks!!
“I was officially diagnosed last week and had to get her out this week! We are so blessed! Thanks guys for giving some amazing advice which may have just saved our precious girl’s life! Yeah We are SO BLESSED & in awe!!!
“(Now I will be the crazy lady running around telling all the preggie ladies to beware!)”
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