Liver Disease of Pregnancy: Pathology

  • Donald B. Rolfes


Liver disease is not common in pregnancy. Jaundice is the most frequent clinical manifestation and is present in only one of every 1500 pregnancies.1 The disorders that affect the liver during this period can be divided into two groups: those that simply occur simultaneously with gestation but that are etiologically unrelated to it, and those that develop only within the context of pregnancy. The former is responsible for two thirds of the cases of liver dysfunction during gestation. Acute viral hepatitis is reputed to be the most common cause of jaundice during pregnancy; however, the entire spectrum of liver disease can occur in the gravid patient. As a general rule, the course of these diseases remains unaffected by gestation. Acute viral hepatitis is no more severe in the pregnant patient, provided she is well nourished, than in the nonpregnant patient.2 Special consideration is given to these entities in other general references on the topic.3, 4 This chapter examines those diseases that develop exclusively during pregnancy. These include acute fatty liver of pregnancy, liver disease in toxemia of pregnancy, intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy and liver disease in hyperemesis gravidarum.


Hepatic Encephalopathy Disseminate Intravascular Coagulation Intrahepatic Cholestasis Hyperemesis Gravidarum Acute Viral Hepatitis 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald B. Rolfes
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PathologyHoly Cross HospitalSilver SpringUSA

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