Treatment of ICP: fetal monitoring

Your doctor may want to monitor your baby. You may be asked to have additional ultrasound scans of your baby – this is usually to check on your baby’s well-being and/or growth. There is no evidence to suggest that ICP can affect the growth of your baby, and most experts on ICP do not suggest extra scans as routine in the management of ICP unless there are other medical reasons to be doing so (for example if it has been noted that you have a smaller then average baby). There is also no evidence to suggest that using ultrasound scans to check your baby’s well-being can pick up any potential problems.

You may also be asked to have CTG (cardiotocography) monitoring to check on your baby’s heartbeat, but again there is no research to suggest that CTGs (or non-stress tests) are able to predict which babies are at risk of complications. However, we know from what women tell us that it can help to reassure them (and their health professionals), so if your hospital is one that doesn’t offer CTGs and you feel it would help you to cope with the anxiety that you may be experiencing, you could ask your doctor if you can have them.

Equally as important, you can be your own monitor of your baby’s movements and report any changes that you notice. This is something that all pregnant women are advised to do and you are the person who best knows your baby’s patterns. For example, yours might be a ‘morning’ baby for its kicks, or it could be an all-day kicker! Whatever the pattern has been, this normally doesn’t change even when you are much further along in your pregnancy and the baby is starting to get quite big.

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Ovadia C, Williamson C. Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy: recent advances. Clin Dermatol 2016; 34: 327–34.

Williamson C, Geenes V Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy. Obstet Gynecol 2014; 124: 120–33. DOI: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000346.