Pregnancy brings about several changes in the body. This includes changes to the condition and appearance of the skin.
During the 2nd and 3rd trimesters of pregnancy, many women complain of rashes and severe skin itching. Rashes are not a threat to your health or the health of your baby. However, it tends to be a very embarrassing situation. The itch is so severe at times that you cannot resist the urge to scratch even in public.
This pregnancy related skin condition will disappear after pregnancy or even during pregnancy. But, till then you must be equipped to cope with them. Here’s handing out a few tips to relieve pregnancy related rashes. Before that, learn about the different types and causes of rashes in pregnant women.
Causes of Itching and Rashes during Pregnancy
Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy–also known as PUPPP– Prurigo Gestationis, Impetigo Herpetiformis, Papular Dermatitis and Herpes Gestationis are some of the rashes specific to pregnancy. Rashes develop a wide range of symptoms. They may cause reddened skin, hive like rashes, mild to severe itching or red or liquid filled bumps.
During pregnancy the belly and breasts expand enormously. Thus, the skin stretches beyond its capacity. This causes severe itching in these areas.
Pregnancy may also result in excessive dry skin. Dry skin itches more. This condition is called Xerosis.
Increase in Hormones
The itch may also be initiated by hormonal fluctuations. It is caused due to the surge in the levels of estrogen and progesterone. The rash is called the estrogen itch. The increased estrogen in the mother’s body causes the palms of the hand and the soles of the feet to itch.
The pregnancy hormone progesterone raises the body temperature slightly. Thus, the skin perspires more than normal. Excessive sweating causes the skin to rub against each other and become sore. This type of rash generally develops between the skin folds.
Changes to the Liver
In some cases, the itching may be a symptom of a change in the condition of the liver. Women may develop a liver condition called Obstetric Cholestasis during pregnancy. Itching sensation develops on the palms, soles, arms and legs.
Tips to Relieve Itchy Skin during Pregnancy
Following are some remedies to relieve dry, itchy skin.
- Wear cotton clothes or clothes made of natural fibers. Avoid wearing too tight clothes. Wear cotton panties.
- Prevent the skin from drying out by moisturizing it with the right creams and lotions. You can opt for natural formulations such as those containing tea tree oil, cocoa butter, oatmeal or Aloe Vera.
- Skin rashes such as PUPPP, Pemphigoid gestationis, Intrahepatic cholestasis and impetigo herpetiform will require medical treatments such as the use of antihistamines, oral corticosteroids and topical corticosteroids. The doctor will prescribe the right medications. You should not take any medication without the doctor’s advice.
- There are other home remedies for itchy skin. You can dissolve baking soda in your bath water.
- Avoid very hot water baths and showers. The heat will cause the skin to dry up more.
- Use a mild, unscented soap for the skin.
- Drink plenty of water and eat a balanced nutritious diet.