Itchy Skin During Pregnancy, Why It Happens.

by | May 6, 2018

Pregnancy can be a roller coaster of hormonal and emotional rides, from the early signs of pregnancy, such as vomiting every meal you try to eat, to the frequent bathroom trips, that get tiring after the first day.

Yet, itchy skin is another beast in itself. It’s unrelenting and from the well-meaning people with old wives tales, to that being an indication of being a boy. To others that chalk it up to another pregnancy symptoms. It doesn’t stop you from wanting to tear your hair out, or at least, go sit in an ice-cold bath to try and make it stop.

The itching but it could also be a potentially dangerous complication known as intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, according to The American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. This condition, as per the Mayo Clinic, is categorized by severe itching that usually comes on in your third trimester, and is typically noticed in the palms of the hands and soles of the feet. But it is very, very rare.

What it more than likely is, and a much more common ailment during pregnancy is something known as pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP).

You can normally identify it by the small reddish bumps that appear on your skin by the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. These seemingly innocent bumps can grow to larges patches across your body, that can be very itchy.  It does, however, stop as soon as you give birth.


 

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Other names for the condition are:

  • Nurse’s late-onset prurigo

  • Bourne’s toxemic rash of pregnancy

  • Toxic erythema of pregnancy

  • Polymorphic eruption of pregnancy


 

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There are some factors that put certain women at a higher risk for developing PUPPP, being Caucasian, your first pregnancy, rapid weight gain during your first and second trimesters, and high blood pressure. However, this list is not exhaustive. Some women will develop PUPPP regardless if they don’t fit into these categories.

There is no cure for PUPPP, with the symptoms going away as soon as you give birth. However, it can be managed by moisturizing your skin, taking antihistamines, and topical steroids.

It’s possible that your baby could be born with a milder form of PUPPP rash. But the rash itself shouldn’t cause any complications for you or your baby.


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