I’ve had my baby and I’m still itching

I’ve had my baby and I’m still itching

  • If you have only recently had your baby the itching should have at least decreased in severity and will go away in due course. However, if you are still itching several weeks after the birth you should see your GP for further investigation. Very occasionally women are discovered not to have had ICP but some other form of liver disease. You may need a referral to a hepatologist (liver specialist) or a gastroenterologist who has a special interest in the liver.
  • If it is some time since you have had your baby, it may be that your itching is what has been termed ‘cyclical itching’. Although this is not addressed in the current RCOG Guideline on ICP, years of feedback from women who have the condition confirms that it does exist. It can usually be linked to ovulation or the start of menstruation. It generally only lasts for a few days and is not as intense as the itching experienced during an ICP pregnancy. There has been no research to explain why this happens, but current thinking suggests that it happens because your liver has been left ‘sensitive’ to hormone fluctuations – hence the link to ovulation and menstruation.
  • Some women have reported that they experience itching again in times of extreme tiredness and stress, but the reasons for this are not yet known.
  • Contraception is also a possible cause of itching.

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Girling J, Knight CL, Chappell L; on behalf of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists. Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy. BJOG 2022; 1–20.

Marschall HU. Management of intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy. Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol 2015; 9(10): 1273–1279.