Self Care for Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP)
While there is no cure for Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy, there are many ways to manage and ease symptoms of the disorder, which is better for mother and baby. Eating a healthy diet and lowering stress levels is best for women with or without ICP. Please note the information on this page are self-help tips that women with (ICP) Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy found helpful.
Ask Your Health Care provider about Recommended medications
- Ursodeoxycholic Acid (Ursodiol) is the first line treament. It may help with itching and is shown to prevent some complications.
- Vistaril – Hydroxyzine – can be used to treat symptoms such as itching.
Eating a Healthy Diet for a Healthy Pregnancy
- Many women with ICP notice that eating a nutritious diet of real food that is whole, fresh and unprocessed helps reduce the severity of the itching experienced.
- Please refer to the Healthy Diet Page for recommended foods with essential nutrients.
Drink Plenty of Water
It’s recommended that you drink 8-12 glasses of water a day. You need more water than the average person in order to form amniotic fluid, carry nutrients, enhance digestion and flush out wastes and toxins.
Reducing Stress During Pregnancy
- Women with ICP – Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy, noticed high-stress situations increased their itching.
- Meditation and positive affirmations can help with mental health and reduce stress.
Practicing mild to moderate exercise such as yoga, walking, dancing, swimming and stretching can help women both physically and mentally.
Please always check with your doctor before starting an exercise program during pregnancy.
Eliminate External Irritants
- Keep skin moisturized
- Keep the environment moist with a humidifier
- Wear cool & loose cotton clothing
- Use ice packs and cool baths for comfort
- Sleep with a fan
Essential Oils Can Reduce Stress During Pregnancy
Essential oils are scented extracts that manufacturers derive from plants, flowers, and fruits. They come in a liquid form, and can be diffused or rubbed directly on the body. Research suggests that aromatherapy with some essential oils may help promote relaxation and relieve anxiety.
The following links can be helpful on questions for the use of essential oils during pregnancy. National Association for Holistic Aromatherapy pregnancy safety information.
You may also find peer reviewed research on essential oils at Aromatic Science
Please reach out to Donna ICP Care Founder (also an Essential Oils Educator) with questions or self help topical blends for the itch.
Antihistamines and Lotions
Antihistamines are medicines used to treat allergies and hypersensitive reactions. There is no evidence to prove that antihistamines such as Benedryl help in ICP, and many women with ICP do not receive much relief from itching when taken. There are lotions such as Sarna which have a cooling effect on the skin and may provide temporary relief. Sarna lotion is a menthol lotion many itchymoms find soothing. It does not reduce the bile acids and is not a treatment, but rather a topical help for the itching. Many women find that rubbing the Sarna lotion and then sitting in front of a fan helps to cool and soothe. You may also try other options like Aveeno and Grandpa’s Pine Tar Soap. You can speak to your pharmacist to make an aqueous cream with 1-2% menthol. In the UK, there is a product called Dermacool to temporarily help relieve the itch.
Personal and Household products
- The skin is the largest organ of the human body and absorbs personal care products as well as household products used. Below are helpful tips on products to use to reduce exposure to toxins.
- Paraben free personal care products such as lotions, body wash, make up, shampoos and conditioners. The reason is that parabens mimic estrogen in the body which ICP women already have an issue with this condition. Choose natural safe alternatives.
- Cleaning products from eco-friendly companies for a clean toxic chemical-free home.
Visit ICP Care on Pinterest to review the Healthy Diet Board and Healthy Recipe Board.
Please review the Helpful Products & Books page.