Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy: perinatal outcome associated with expectant management

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 1996 Oct;175(4 Pt 1):957-60. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9378(96)80031-7.


Objective: Our goal was to compare the pregnancy outcomes of patients with intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy managed expectantly with antepartum testing with those of other patients who were followed up with a similar testing scheme.

Study design: Cases of intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy monitored with antepartum testing at our institution over a 7-year period were reviewed. Their pregnancy outcomes were compared with those of control patients followed up with the same testing scheme for a history of stillbirth. Both groups had at least weekly nonstress tests and amniotic fluid assessment until spontaneous labor or delivery for standard obstetric indications

Results: Seventy-nine patients were analyzed in each group. The two groups did not differ with respect to the mean gestational age at delivery (38.5 vs 38.8 weeks), birth weight (3216 vs 3277 gm) or incidence of preterm delivery (14% vs 7.6%). Abnormal antepartum testing prompting delivery was more common in the control group (25% vs 7.6%, p < 0.05). The risk of meconium passage was higher in the cholestasis group (44.3% vs 7.6%, p < 0.05). Two antepartum fetal deaths occurred in the cholestasis group at 36 to 37 weeks' gestation within 5 days of normal results of antepartum testing. Thick meconium and appropriate birth weight were noted in both infants. No gross anomalies were found in either infant.

Conclusion: Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy is associated with adverse perinatal outcome not predicted by conventional fetal surveillance.

MeSH terms

  • Amniotic Fluid / physiology
  • Cholestasis, Intrahepatic / therapy*
  • Female
  • Fetal Death
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Meconium Aspiration Syndrome / therapy
  • Medical Records
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / therapy*
  • Pregnancy Outcome
  • Prenatal Care*