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SMFM Consult Series #53: Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy

Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy is a hepatic disorder characterized by pruritus and an elevation in serum bile acid levels. Although intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy poses little risk for women, this condition carries a significant risk for the fetus, including complications such as preterm delivery, meconium-stained amniotic fluid, and stillbirth. The purpose of this Consult is to review the current literature on intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy and provide recommendations based on the available evidence. The recommendations by the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine are as follows: (1) we recommend measurement of serum bile acid and liver transaminase levels in patients with suspected intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (GRADE 1B); (2) we recommend that ursodeoxycholic acid be used as the first-line agent for the treatment of maternal symptoms of intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (GRADE 1A); (3) we suggest that patients with a diagnosis of intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy begin antenatal fetal surveillance at a gestational age when delivery would be performed in response to abnormal fetal testing results or at the time of diagnosis if the diagnosis is made later in gestation (GRADE 2C); (4) we recommend that patients with total bile acid levels of ≥100 μmol/L be offered delivery at 36 0/7 weeks of gestation, given that the risk of stillbirth increases substantially around this gestational age (GRADE 1B); (5) we recommend delivery between 36 0/7 and 39 0/7 weeks of gestation for patients with intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy and total bile acid levels of <100 μmol/L (GRADE 1C); (6) we recommend administration of antenatal corticosteroids for fetal lung maturity for patients delivering before 37 0/7 weeks of gestation if not previously administered (GRADE 1A); (7) we recommend against preterm delivery at <37 weeks of gestation in patients with a clinical diagnosis of intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy without laboratory confirmation of elevated bile acid levels (GRADE 1B).