Itchy Skin in Pregnancy – What it Can Mean and When to Get Help

Many women complain about itching in different areas of the body during pregnancy, particularly as the pregnancy proceeds and the baby gets larger rapidly. There could be itching on the thighs, belly, breasts and so on.

Most of this itching is due to the rapid expansion and stretching of the skin as the body puts on weight preparing for the birth of the baby. Particularly the skin of the belly is likely to itch because that is what stretches the most and the quickest. The hormonal changes in the body also give rise to this sensation of itching.

Itchy skin in pregnancy and why does it happen?

Itchy Skin in PregnancyThere is sometimes redness and itching noted in the palms of the hands and the soles of the feet.

This is also caused due to hormonal changes; principally estrogen and may disappear as soon as the baby arrives without any medication.

What can be done to ease the itching?

In such case the itching could be irritating but really nothing to worry about.

Bathing with lukewarm (rather than hot) water, applying good quality moisturizers, and avoiding products with perfumes can usually help relieve the itching. Wearing loose and comfortable clothing with breathable material will also help minimize the irritation.

When is the itching a cause for worry?

The rule of thumb here is that if the itching is very severe, if it is accompanied by rashes, blisters or other skin abnormality, you should report it to a doctor.

In some rare cases it could be a condition called dpruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP) that could be causing the problem of itching. In this case, the itching will be accompanied by red bumps or rashes on the belly. This is more likely to occur during the latter part of the pregnancy.

Another pregnancy skin condition that could cause a lot of itching is Prurigo of Pregnancy. Here the itching is accompanied by what looks like insect bites on the skin. This kind of rash may likely show up on the arms and legs.

Another condition that can cause itching symptoms is a rare but potentially serious condition called pemphigoid gestationis or herpes gestationis. The eruptions typically start on the belly and then spread elsewhere. The rash starts of rather like hives and then progresses to lesions or blisters.

One more condition called intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy a rare liver problem could also cause itchiness and should receive medical attention immediately.


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