Itching During Pregnancy

Pregnancy brings about a lot of diverse changes in the human body. Some changes are predictable, such as increase in weight, but many mothers-to-be never assume to experience itching during pregnancy. It is an uncomfortable experience and most importantly an embarrassing moment, particularly if the itchiness occurs around their nipples.

Itching During Pregnancy Can Be Normal

Here are the possible causes for this normal phenomenon:

  • It's highly common to feel itchy, predominantly around the bump in the belly and breasts as your skin expanses to accommodate them.
  • Hormonal fluctuations may also be a causal factor for the irritation. Some pregnant women have itchiness and redness on their palms and the soles of their feet. This condition may be associated with an upsurge of estrogen in pregnant women. It usually fades right after delivery.
  • Eczema often gets worse during pregnancy although some women find out that their state actually improves. With psoriasis the condition is overturned.

Itching During Pregnancy May Indicate Underlying Diseases

There is a range of conditions associated with itchiness during pregnancy. Symptoms can intersect between one condition and the other, and it can be puzzling to try to figure out precisely what's going on. Here are some of the potentials conditions:


It is described by itchy, red bumps and larger patches of a hive-like rash on their abdomens. This is called PUPPP or pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy, also known as polymorphic eruption of pregnancy.

  • Symptom: PUPPP usually initiates in the last trimester, although it can arise earlier or, infrequently, during the first two weeks after delivery. It's more common in women who give birth to twins and those with their first child. It causes an annoying, itchy, bumpy, benign rash, which appear on the arms, buttocks and thighs.
  • Cause: No causal agent for PUPPP is known to exist. The flare-ups, which can itch a lot, typically show up first on the abdomen and then spread to the thighs, buttocks, back, and more infrequently to your arms and legs. The neck, hands, face, and feet are generally safe.
  • Treatment: Doctor will recommend a topical ointment to give you some itch relief along with an antihistamine. In very severe cases, you may be required to take a course of oral steroids.

2. Prurigo of Pregnancy

Itching during pregnancy can be due to this comparatively rare disorder, also called papular eruptions of pregnancy.

  • Symptom: It is characterized by numerous small bumps at different places on the body. Prurigo of pregnancy usually begins in the late part of second or early part of third trimester. The flare-ups, which can be awfully itchy and irritating, typically appear on the limbs or the trunk.
  • Treatment may comprise of topical medicine and antihistamines. In very severe cases, you may be required to take a course of oral steroids. Prurigo of pregnancy typically resolves after the labor, although it may persist for another three months after delivery and may ensue again in a pregnancy later on in life. Providentially, it seems to pose no risk to the mother as well as the baby.

3. Pemphigoid Gestationis

Rarely, itching during pregnancy may become extreme, which begins like rash and then crack into large sweltering lesions. This rash is known as pemphigoid gestationis.

  • Symptom: It frequently arises in the second or third trimester, but it can initiate anytime, as well as within the first or second week after the baby has been born. The flare-ups frequently start in or around the belly button and affect other body parts like arms, legs, palms and soles. Pemphigoid gestationis is linked with a greater risk for preterm delivery, growth abnormalities, and stillbirth.
  • Treatment: Oral steroids are recommended for treatment. This complaint can come and go throughout pregnancy, and it often flares up during the post-delivery period. In fact, it may take weeks or months for it to resolve after the delivery.

4. Cholestasis of Pregnancy

Cholestasis of pregnancy often happens in late pregnancy. Cholestasis of pregnancy can make you extremely scratchy but there are no longstanding risks involved. However, cholestasis of pregnancy can be dangerous for a developing fetus.

  • Symptom: It causes strong itching during pregnancy, which is typically on hands and feet. The itch worsens at night and may be upsetting enough to wake you up from sleep. Other symptoms may include yellowing of the skin and jaundice, nausea and loss of appetite.
  • Cause: The cause of cholestasis of pregnancy is not known. There may be a hereditary constituent, as the disorder sometimes runs in families. Besides, it's likely that the upsurge in pregnancy hormones especially in the third trimester may slow the usual flow of bile out of the liver. Ultimately, the accumulation of bile in the liver lets bile acids to enter the blood. Bile acids that get deposited in the mother's soft tissues can be a cause for the itchy feeling.
  • Treatment: Ursodiol is prescribed by the doctor to soothe the extreme itch and it also helps in decreasing the level of bile in the mother's bloods and may lessen complications for the developing baby. In some cases, early delivery, around 37 weeks or so, is recommended

How to Deal With Itchiness During Pregnancy

Usually dry skin causes itching during pregnancy so you can use the following approaches to deal with the circumstances:


What to Do

Avoid hot baths

Taking a bath in exceedingly hot water can activate more itchiness during pregnancy. Treat yourself with a lukewarm bath that will help to get free of too much itchiness.

Avoid Heat

Heat and sun both lead to an escalation in itchiness on the dry parts of your body.

Use mild soaps

It is suitable to get rid of perfumed soaps with strong scents while you ache with dry skin. Use a mild natured soap which is gentle on the skin, as it will aid in reducing the itchiness.

Moisten your skin

Apply an appropriate moisturizer after showers to minimalize the risk of dry, itchy skin.

Wear dry clothes

Make certain that you wear clean and dry clothing every day. Clothes rubbing against your skin can considerably affect the dryness and itchiness of skin. Wear loose comfortable clothes.

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