How To Manage Acute Fatty Liver of Pregnancy


Acute Fatty Liver Disease

Fat accumulation in the liver cells that goes beyond a limit that the body can handle, leads to a disease condition of the liver termed medically as fatty liver.  The condition by itself causes no problem to an individual’s health, but if the consumption of dietary fats is failed to be reduced by the individual, then the problem can aggravate and cause irreversible damage to the liver organ.

Acute Fatty Liver:  Certain liver problems does seem to arise during the gestational period of a woman, and one such liver disease is this fatty liver condition, which is normally referred to as acute fatty liver of pregnancy.  It is very uncommon for a pregnant woman to develop this condition, but if and when it occurs, immediate treatment is warranted so as not to compromise the health of the fetus as well as the would-be mother.  If the condition is left untreated, it can even lead to failure of other major organs like the kidneys or bring about infectious conditions, which can prove fatal to the mother as well as the unborn child.


While the exact cause remains unknown for its development, it may be considered that hormonal changes do have some role to play in its development.  This liver condition normally makes its presentation during the third trimester of pregnancy.  Since the symptom mimics that of other common medical conditions, diagnosing this condition in a pregnant woman can be a difficult process.  Because of the woman’s pregnant condition, performing a liver biopsy is not normally recommended.  Blood tests done will assist in ruling out other health problems and if a liver condition is suspected, then liver function tests and imaging studies, like an ultrasound, will normally be performed to identify the liver problem.

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Treatment Process:  Once the condition is diagnosed, and since its occurrence usually happens in the later part of the gestational period, a quick delivery of the baby is considered the only manner in which the situation can be well handled.  Again, the manner in which the baby should be delivered will depend largely on the development and current status of the fetus, the health condition of the mother, and if normal delivery can be safely induced.

In a situation where normal delivery is not a possibility within a day or two the diagnosis has been made, then cesarean section is normally carried out.  Fatty liver condition may bring about changes in the complex chemical reactions of a body that interferes with the clotting process.  This needs to be identified and corrected before going ahead with the C-section procedure.  Also, the administration of regional anesthesia may cause bleeding at the puncture site if coagulation problems are not brought under control.

Normally, after giving birth, this abnormal liver condition in the new mother resolves by itself.  To prevent its recurrence in future pregnancies, a genetic testing to detect the disorder of fatty acid oxidation in both the mother as well as the child will need to be carried out.  If the disorder is detected, it can be well managed with proper diet, eating at fixed intervals, and regular monitoring.