Apart from the inherent joy and hope that is associated with pregnancy, for many women it can also prove to be a time of some physical discomforts. Many expectant mothers discover itchy eruptions around their bellies. This happens because the uterus, along with the stretch of skin over it, needs to expand in order to accommodate the growing fetus inside. That is the reason why one would notice that the itching is localized mostly around the growing baby bump and breasts. Apart from this there are several hormonal changes that have to be taken into account for pregnancy itching. Hormonal oriented pregnancy itching causes itchy redness around the palms and soles of one’s feet because of the excess amount of estrogen in the blood stream but the good news is that the pregnancy itching swiftly disappears soon after giving birth to the baby so there is hardly any need to worry about it too much.
Other Reasons for Pregnancy Itching:
Apart from the general hormonal or stretching related itching during pregnancy there might also be other reasons. For example pregnancy itching could very well be caused by
PUPPP also medically known to many as Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy, causes large patches of rashes formed in the shape of beehives along with itchy reddish bumps. Women with twin pregnancies are more prone to PUPPP. It might sound very serious but actually it is quite harmless in nature causing minor irritation and disappearing fast. This kind of pregnancy itching begins near the abdomen area and spreads towards the thighs. Although it can be very uncomfortable women need not worry too much about it because it does not pose any kind of threat to the baby or the mother’s health. Health specialists will suggest ointment for direct application over the rashes however if the condition worsens then the doctors may also suggest oral steroids, but that of course is one of the last resorts. The chances of PUPPP increases during
- The Last Trimester: The tendency to have pregnancy itches increases during the last trimester of pregnancy.
- Twins or Multiple Pregnancies: Twin pregnancy or multiple pregnancies increase the chances of itchy rashes because of excessive hormonal secretions.
- One’s First Pregnancy: First time mothers often complain about such sort of itchiness. These usually do not recur in subsequent pregnancies.
- Weight Gain: The reason why pregnant women tend to get itchy rashes after weight gain is uncertain but doctors have noticed a certain link between gaining weight and having pregnancy rashes.
Itches caused by eczema during pregnancy may take unprecedented turns, for instance the ones who already suffer from it may find that they have been completely healed during pregnancy, conversely the condition may also worsen and those who have never had it may start getting it. Such kind of pregnancy itching will prevail mostly around the folds of the skin and will not spread rapidly all over.
Scabies is a sort of skin condition that is caused by certain allergens like tiny dust mites.
Thrush is a kind of skin irritation that is caused by a fungal infection.
How to Treat Pregnancy Itching: Though these itches are very disturbing to say the least expectant mothers can take a few precautions or go ahead with some measures to treat these sorts of itches or at least lessen its intensity.
Taking regular cold showers will shut the pores and keep the skin cool at all times. The heat from warm water opens up the pores and facilitates bacterial growth. The atmospheric temperature also has got a lot to do with itching because it has been noted that warmer weather encourages the growth of itchy rashes.
Keep it Cool:
Expectant mothers need to remember that they have to avoid hot and humid environment at all times because heat helps the formation of more rashes and increase the itchiness. If one must go out when the sun is scorching outside then one must remember to carry an umbrella in order to keep out of the direct sun rays. Stay in shade if possible and arrange for an air conditioner if the situation permits.
Check everything that one generally applies on skin. If the cosmetic product has strong perfume or cleansing agents then it must be given up immediately because they tend to dehydrate the skin. Use herbal products or products that have a good ph-balance and are gentle on the skin. Moisturizing the skin with good non perfumed creams or calamine lotions.
Oatmeal baths have been known for reducing pregnancy rashes and itching so try mixing oatmeal powder, which is easily available in most drugstores, with the water with which one would bathe in order to sooth such kind of pregnancy itching. This is a traditional way of treating rashes and although it is not scientifically proven to cure itchiness it can definitely comfort one for the time being.
The Right sort of Clothing:
The right kind of clothing for women with pregnancy itching are clothes that fit loosely and are made of natural fabric like linen and cotton. Synthetic fabrics should be avoided because they tend to heat up the body as they do not allow the skin to breathe thereby making the skin even more prone to itches and rashes.
How Harmful are these Rashes: Much to one’s relief these rashes and itches are not harmful at all either for the baby or the mother. But there are of course certain exceptions. So if a problem persists for a very long time then one should consult an obstetrician immediately. There is a certain liver condition known as Obstetric Cholestasis or OC which causes itchiness during pregnancy due to a malfunction in the flow of bile causing the accumulation of salt under the layer of the skin. Women suffering from OC will have itchiness over their bodies but surprisingly there will be no red rashes of any sort.
Pregnancy itching therefore is a common factor among pregnant women who have entered the last trimester of their pregnancy. Most of these are harmless in nature and only appear to cause minor irritation and quickly disappear after the baby has been born. However one should consult a doctor if the itching becomes very serious over time. Watch out for other symptoms like dark colored urine or frequent fevers or any other such signs as they may be an indication of something else altogether. Pregnancy in spite of having all these kinds of discomfort is a very special time for a woman so would be mothers should enjoy every minute of it. Bond with the unborn child and prepare for its arrival mentally. Rashes and itchiness can be taken care of deftly by most well accomplished doctors so instead of losing sleep over pregnancy itching try to focus on the other positive aspects of pregnancy.