Acute Fatty Liver of Pregnancy, Symptoms and Causes

Acute Fatty Liver of Pregnancy, Symptoms and Causes

What are the symptoms of acute fatty liver of pregnancy?

AFLP typically starts late in the third trimester of pregnancy — 36 weeks is the average length of the pregnancy at diagnosis. However, it can occur up until delivery or sooner.

The most common symptoms of AFLP include:

  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Abdominal pain (mainly on the upper right side).
  • Tiredness.
  • A general unwell feeling.
  • Loss of appetite.
  • Excessive thirst.
  • Jaundice (yellowing of your skin and whites of your eyes).
  • Confusion or being unable to concentrate.

The symptoms of AFLP resemble symptoms of other conditions. Discuss any symptoms you’re having during pregnancy with your pregnancy care provider. AFLP is a medical emergency and requires prompt treatment.

What is the cause of acute fatty liver of pregnancy?

Researchers aren’t sure what causes acute fatty liver of pregnancy. Your liver is responsible for breaking down fatty acids. With AFLP, there’s too much fat in your liver due to a problem with how your liver breaks down fat. The fat clogs up your liver and interferes with how it functions. This can be deadly if left untreated.

Studies show AFLP may be genetic. An enzyme deficiency called long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (LCHAD) may cause AFLP.

LCHAD deficiency is a rare autosomal recessive disorder. This means both biological parents must have the gene to pass it to the fetus. With LCHAD, the fetus can’t metabolize fatty acids. The fatty acids pass through the placenta to the pregnant person’s bloodstream. This, in turn, can cause fat to build up in your liver.

What are the risk factors for acute fatty liver of pregnancy?

AFLP may be genetic, meaning you inherit it from your biological parents. Other risk factors may be that:

  • It’s your first pregnancy.
  • You’re having twins or more.
  • You’re expecting a male fetus.
  • You have diabetes.
  • You have intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy.
  • You have preeclampsia.
  • You have obesity.
ALSO READ  Abdominal Pain and Pregnancy: What to Know

Your pregnancy care provider can’t predict if you’ll get acute fatty liver of pregnancy, even if you have all of the risk factors. Along with being unpredictable, it’s also unpreventable.

What are the complications of acute fatty liver of pregnancy?

Acute fatty liver of pregnancy can be deadly. Both you and the fetus are at risk for many complications. Some of these are:

  • Liver failure.
  • Kidney failure.
  • Lung failure.
  • Infection.
  • Hemorrhage.


Most read