How to Handle Fatty Liver in Pregnancy
Pregnancy is a beautiful period in a woman’s life. While for some it is a joyful time, many others have found this rarely a comfortable period because of pregnancy-related health issues. Of the various maladies that pregnant women are susceptible to, fatty liver condition seems to have developed into a common ailment suffered by the pregnant lot.
Fatty Liver During Pregnancy – Excess fat accumulation in the liver cells is termed as fatty liver disease. This liver condition can develop very quickly during pregnancy and usually occurs during the final stages of the pregnancy period, which is the third trimester. This sudden onset and often severe condition of the liver can be life threatening to the mother and the unborn baby; hence, immediate treatment is warranted.
Symptoms – Telltale signs of any abnormality occurring during pregnancy should never be taken lightly. Increased nausea and vomiting, intense pain in the right upper abdominal area, yellowish pigmentation of the skin tissues, whites of the eyes, nails, and bleeding are the usual symptoms of acute fatty liver disease during pregnancy. Some may even notice increased confusion and blood clotting difficulties during this phase.
Causes – The exact cause for fatty liver development during pregnancy is not known, but an increase in body weight, which is a normal occurrence during pregnancy, may be considered to be the reason. This is because fatty liver is a condition commonly occurring in those who are overweight or obese. Genetics may also play a role in bringing about this liver abnormality during pregnancy.
Treatment – A raise in blood sugar and cholesterol levels during pregnancy may occur which may be contributing towards fatty liver conditions. Treating and managing these well is recommended to help in reversing this liver condition in a pregnant woman.
At times, fatty liver may be drug-induced. Hence, identifying the culprits and removing them or replacing them with others that are not known to interfere with proper liver functions is recommended.
If piling on excess body weight during pregnancy is the issue, then it is best managed with weight reduction attempts. Here, since it involves the health of the fetus too, weight loss should be done in a healthy and safe manner. Simple exercises and a well balanced nutritious diet should be put in place. If a poor diet or skipping meals is the chosen route for weight loss during pregnancy, these can actually aggravate the liver condition.
Foods that require to be avoided are overly concentrated sweets, foods high in saturated fats, processed foods, as well as a high salt diet. More raw vegetables and fruits that are fiber rich need to be incorporated into the person’s daily diet.
Complications – If fatty liver during pregnancy is not brought under good control, it can lead to premature delivery or even termination of pregnancy (though this is a very rare occurrence). Since this liver condition is seen during the final stages of pregnancy, an attempt to stabilize the mother’s condition is made so as to induce a quick delivery. If clotting problems are noticed, then blood transfusions may be necessary.
Normally, the liver of the new mother gets back to its normal state once the baby is born. However, if genes are found to be the causative factor, then subsequent pregnancies will cause this liver condition to crop up again. The mother should be made aware of this fact so as to put precautionary measures in place.