Christina DePino expected some discomfort during pregnancy, but she never anticipated the severe and excruciating pain that accompanied her expanding stomach.
"What had started as an all-over itch started to become more pronounced on the palms of my hands and the soles of my feet," DePino said. "It got to the point that I could no longer sleep at night... my arms and legs were bleeding from all the scratching."
Unable to ignore the pain any longer, DePino took her complaints to Facebook about the pitfalls of pregnancy. Her post begged her friends for answers and remedies to control the constant itching and to help her find relief.
A few people commented that it might be intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP). After googling ICP, DePino discovered it was a serious condition that can cause bile from the liver to back up in the bloodstream. Shockingly, she found the possible cause for her severe itching could also cause her baby to be stillborn.
At 36 weeks, DePino contacted her doctor for blood testing where she was officially diagnosed with ICP. The doctor recommended DePino be induced a couple of weeks early to lower her unborn daughter's health risks.
One week later and 37 weeks pregnant, DePino delivered a beautiful, healthy baby girl, Lexa Rae.
"As soon as I was holding my beautiful baby girl in my arms, all I could think was, 'What if?' What if I had not complained on Facebook? What if no one had told me?" DePino said. "All I could think was that I had to let other women know. I didn't want any of them to wonder what had happened to their perfectly healthy baby."
She decided to share her experience on Facebook to help educate other unsuspecting mothers about ICP.
"If your pregnant & your itching REALLY bad, don't ignore it!!"
DePino's post has over 26,000 shares. DePino and her husband are thrilled their message about cholestasis is being shared and spread to women all over the world.
DePino encourages all mothers to never ignore their "itchy" feelings.
"A simple blood test could save your baby's life," DePino said.