Toggle site contrast Toggle Contract

Obstetric cholestasis postnatal information

Obstetric cholestasis (OC) is a disorder that affects your liver during pregnancy. This causes a build-up of bile acids in your body. The main symptom is itching of the skin but there is no skin rash. The symptoms get better when your baby has been born. This information sheet is to inform you of what follow up care will be given following the birth of your baby.

  • Itching should quickly disappear after delivery and blood tests (liver function tests and bile acids) should return to normal.
  • Your GP should check your blood tests 10 days after your baby is born to check they have become normal.
  • If they are not normal by day 10 then you will need further blood tests at 42 days – your liver may be taking extra time to return to normal but we also need to rule out an underlying liver problem. You may need to be referred to a liver specialist.

Important considerations

  • There is a high chance of obstetric cholestasis (OC) recurring in a future pregnancy – 45-90% of women (45-90 in 100) will develop it again.
  • If you have had obstetric cholestasis in your pregnancy, it is better to avoid the oestrogen-containing contraceptive pill and you may wish to discuss alternative forms of contraception with your GP.
  • Please note that alcohol does not cause obstetric cholestasis. However, it is recommended that you avoid alcohol intake when pregnant, especially if there is evidence of any liver disease.