pregnancy

Christina DePino's Facebook 'complaint post' may have saved her baby’s life.

Christina DePino still had more than a month to go in her pregnancy, but there was one thing driving her crazy.

“I was having a ton of itching,” she explains in a video she posted to YouTube.

“I had been complaining about it on Facebook to my friends, saying that I felt like I just wanted to peel my skin off.

“A friend of mine commented and said, ‘Oh, that could be something serious called ICP. You should definitely get that checked out with your doctor. I don’t want to scare you but it could be a serious condition’.”

cholestasis
"I felt like I just wanted to peel my skin off.”Image supplied.

A second friend added a similar comment, but DePino brushed off their concerns. She’d had milder itching earlier in the pregnancy, and put it all down to moving to a colder climate that had dried out her skin.

A few days later she put up another 'complaint post'.

“My sister-in-law, who’s a nurse, commented and said, ‘Look up cholestasis of pregnancy. It could be a very serious condition if this is keeping you awake at night.’ Which it was.”

DePino admits she probably wouldn’t have mentioned it to her doctor if her friends and sister-in-law hadn’t urged her. But she made an appointment and, following a blood test, was diagnosed with cholestasis. That meant her baby was at increased risk of being stillborn.

Listen: What to expect during the fourth month of pregnancy, on Hello Bump. (Post continues after audio.)

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DePino was induced late last month at 37 weeks.

“We are so blessed!” she posted on Facebook. “Thanks, guys, for giving some amazing advice which may have just saved our precious girl's life!”

The mum’s post has already been shared more than 23,000 times.

“I’m happy to spread awareness,” she tells Mamamia.

Melbourne gynaecologist Dr Charlotte Elder says cholestasis of pregnancy is a condition where the liver malfunctions slightly because of the pregnancy.

"It causes a very, very severe itch,” Dr Elder says.

“The itch tends to occur mostly on the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet, but it can occur on the rest of the body. It tends not to have a rash.”

She says the risk of stillbirth is only increased slightly. Whether the baby needs to be induced will depend on the timing in the pregnancy and the severity.

cholestasis
Christina was induced at 37 weeks. Image supplied.

“It’s not a common cause of stillbirth, but it is a possibility.”

Dr Elder says itches and rashes in pregnancy can mean different things, and should always be checked out by a doctor or a midwife.

“Doctors and midwives are very, very happy to be asked questions about symptoms in pregnancy. Never feel that any symptom is too silly or too small to ask about.”