In an investigation of the biochemical changes in the serum in a large number of patients with jaundice Laurell & v. Studnitz found that the serum copper level was sometimes excessively high. Closer analysis revealed that all the sera with high copper levels were from women with pruritus of pregnancy in the third trimester of pregnancy. The fact that some of these levels were far above those normally occurring during pregnancy prompted us to a further investigation of this problem. In 1953 Arfwedson found that pruritus in the later months of pregnancy is often accompanied by hyperbilirubinemia. The results of an investigation of the protein and lipo-protein changes in patients with pruritus of pregnancy have been described elsewhere (Arfwedson & v. Studnitz, 1956). The first part of the present investigation is concerned with changes in serum copper during pregnancy with and without pruritus.
The hypercupremia occurring during normal pregnancy is