MD Podiatrist Discusses ICP and Itchy Feet During Pregnancy

Cholestasis, also known as intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) or obstetric cholestasis, is a liver condition that affects about one or two of every 1,000 expectant parents. It’s also a potential cause of itching in pregnancy, particularly if you are experiencing itchiness of the feet and hands. Dan Michaels, DPM, explains that cholestasis occurs as a result of reduction or stoppage in the liver’s ability to process bile, the digestive fluid produced by the liver.
“The pathogenesis of itching in cholestasis is unknown, but some hypotheses have been proposed, including bile acid accumulation in the skin that acts as agents that cause itching,” Dr. Michaels explains. Cholestasis usually happens toward the end of pregnancy, says Dr. Michaels, and can be experienced throughout the body or in localized areas. If the itching is confined to specific parts of the body, the hands and feet are the most common areas.