Helen George opens up about the 'horrific illness' she suffered during pregnancy

She said that it drives some women 'to suicide'

Helen George, star of popular TV series Call The Midwife, has opened up about the 'horrific illness' she was diagnosed with during her pregnancy (opens in new tab) that she said drives some women 'to suicide' because it is so awful.

The former Strictly Come Dancing contestant has revealed that she discovered she had a condition called intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy just two days before she gave birth to her baby daughter (opens in new tab) more than a month earlier than expected.

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Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, or ICP as it is commonly known, is a liver condition that can have serious side effects for those that suffer it and even cause stillbirth (opens in new tab) in expectant mothers.

'The side effects are mainly a really strong sense of itching (opens in new tab). I was scratching myself so much I had bruises all over my body,' the actress told Event Magazine.

'It's awful. It can drive women to suicide in some cases. It's a horrific illness.'

The Call the Midwife star thankfully gave birth to her healthy baby girl, who she has named Wren (opens in new tab), back in October – although the birth was reportedly six weeks before her original due date.

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The star is now a patron of ICP Support, a charity to raise more awareness about the painful condition which is caused by a build up of acid within the body.

'When I was diagnosed with ICP I was confident that the hospital looking after me knew how to look after me and my unborn baby because they conduct research into the condition,' Helen explained when announcing her new patronage of the charity.

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'But I realise that not all women will receive the same kind of care that I did because not all hospitals know as much about it as mine do. That's why I want to help ICP Support raise awareness of ICP and ensure that women have access to the charity's in-depth knowledge of the condition as well as the great support that they provide.'

Helen George and her partner Jack Ashton are now preparing to celebrate their first ever Christmas together as parents with baby Wren.

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