Difficulties arise in the interpretation of liver tests in the pregnant subject, since some values increase (alkaline phosphatase) whilst others remain unchanged (transaminases) or fall during pregnancy. The diagnosis and management of some causes of jaundice in pregnancy, such as viral hepatitis, gall stones, benign intrahepatic cholestasis and acute fatty liver of pregnancy are discussed. Little is known about the commonest symptoms of pregnancy (nausea, vomiting and constipation) other than that they might be due to hormonally induced alteration of sphincter tone. However, pre-existing bowel disease has a greater effect on pregnancy. Fertility is reduced in poor nutritional states (e.g. coeliac and Crohn's diseases) and an increased occurrence of spontaneous abortion has been noted. For inflammatory bowel diseases, the time of onset is important in determining the outcome of pregnancy. Relapse in the disease is commonest in the first trimester and in the puerperium. Treatment of these conditions is essentially as in the non-pregnant subject. The controversial subject of sulphasalazine and steroid usage in pregnancy is discussed.
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