In rare cases, pregnancy and fatty liver could co-exist at the same time, usually at 34th to 39th week of pregnancy (but sometimes could occur immediately after delivery).
The medical term of this condition is “Acute fatty liver of pregnancy” or AFLP. It is considered to be life-threatening condition, but the chance to die from the disease has been dramatically decreased in recent years.
Among these rare cases, Acute fatty liver of pregnancy is more common on the first pregnancy, with an increased risk in twin pregnancy.
Why AFLP is a source of concern?
This is because both mother and the fetus are at very high risk if AFLP isn’t treated. Liver failure, bleeding, kidney failure, and severe infections can be life threatening. Fortunately, early diagnosis of the disease and taking the proper actions can prevent these conditions from happening.
Acute fatty liver of pregnancy symptoms
- Nausea and vomiting.
- Abdominal pain, especially in the upper right.
- General discomfort.
- Fatigue and/or Confusion.
- Jaundice (yellow color of the skin, eyes and mucous membranes).
How Acute fatty liver of pregnancy is diagnosed?
AFLP symptoms are enough in most cases to diagnose the disease. This is usually done together with a blood test to rule out other diseases and conditions that share the same symptoms.
An ultrasound or CT are also used sometimes to help diagnosing acute fatty liver of pregnancy.
The most accurate way to diagnose AFLP is by a liver biopsy, but it’s not always possible to do during a pregnancy.
Acute fatty liver of pregnancy treatment
The only treatment for the disease is to deliver the baby as soon as possible. Time-frame is critical in order to minimize the risks to both the mother and the baby.
After the delivery the mother needs to be under observation until most of the disease symptoms disappear. In most cases the liver is fully recovered within few weeks.