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AFLP is a rare, but serious, liver problem in pregnancy. With AFLP the liver cells have too much fat, which can damage the liver.
Doctors do not know the exact cause of AFLP. Fats called triglycerides and fatty acids normally broken down in the liver. But with AFLP your body makes too much of these. Research shows that AFLP may be an inherited problem with how the liver breaks down fats.
AFLP is rare, but it is more likely if you are:
There is a chance that AFLP can happen again with a future pregnancy.
AFLP usually starts late in the third trimester of pregnancy. These are the most common symptoms of AFLP:
The symptoms of acute fatty liver of pregnancy may look like other health conditions. Always see your healthcare provider for a diagnosis.
To diagnose AFLP, your doctor will review your health history and do a physical exam. The best way to diagnose AFLP is by a liver biopsy. This involves taking a sample of liver tissue for exam under a microscope. This may not always be possible in pregnancy. Most often, your symptoms of AFLP are enough to diagnose the condition. Blood tests can check for other conditions that have similar symptoms. Other tests that may be used include:
Once AFLP is diagnosed, your baby is delivered as quickly as possible. This can help lower the risks to you and your baby. You may need to be in intensive care for several days after delivery. In most cases, your liver function returns to normal within a few weeks.
Both you and your developing baby can become very sick if AFLP is not treated. You can have liver failure, severe bleeding, kidney failure, and severe infection. These can be life-threatening for both you and your baby. Getting an early diagnosis and treatment is important.
Acute fatty liver of pregnancy is a serious condition that can’t be predicted or prevented.
Tips to help you get the most from a visit to your healthcare provider:
Bayhealth is Southern Delaware’s healthcare leader with hospitals in Dover and in Milford. Bayhealth provides a wide range of medical services, including cardiovascular, cancer, orthopaedics and rehabilitation, pediatrics, respiratory care, sleep care, surgical weight loss and women’s services.