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Call the Midwife’s Helen George speaks out about ‘painful’ pregnancy disorder

Call the Midwife star Helen George shares experience of cholestasis of pregnancy (Yui Mok/PA)
Call the Midwife star Helen George shares experience of cholestasis of pregnancy (Yui Mok/PA)

Call The Midwife star Helen George has shared her own experience of cholestasis of pregnancy after the issue featured on the BBC period drama, saying it was “the right time” to do so.

The actress said she had endured months of anxiety in the run up to the birth of her second child, Lark, and that spreading the word about the condition was “really important to me”.

Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) is a potentially serious liver disorder that can develop in pregnancy and affects around one in 140 pregnant women in the UK.

The condition stops the proper flow of bile acids from the liver to the gut to help with the digestion of food, causing a harmful build up in the body instead.

One of the symptoms of ICP is itching and it can cause premature births, both of which George said she experienced.

“In 2017 when I gave birth to our daughter Wren, I was diagnosed with this condition,” she wrote on Instagram.

“I knew there was a high chance that I would suffer again with my second pregnancy, but I was under the most incredible specialists/doctors/midwives/health worker at Guys and St Thomas’s.

“So I felt safe.”

The actress, who plays glamourous and outgoing nurse Trixie Franklin in Call The Midwife, said she had tried “everything” to stop the itching, but to no avail which she found “infuriating.”

“I have to say this pregnancy was so uncomfortable and painful. I thought the second would be easier but it really wasn’t,” she said.

George had to undergo an emergency caesarean section but to her relief, her daughter was born healthy and is doing “so well”.

“I was lucky, but more so, well looked after. ICP support were there every step of the way to help me with whatever questions I had,” she said.

“Please, if you are worried you may have cholestasis in pregnancy or have been diagnosed and need any advice, do reach out to them.

“Spreading the word about this sometimes fatal condition is really important to me. I was over the moon that Call the Midwife tackled the subject last night.”

George previously revealed how she used “clever trickery” to hide her baby bump during filming of the BBC series.

She already shares a daughter called Wren Ivy, born in September 2017, with her partner, series co-star Jack Ashton.

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