Itching during Pregnancy

Itching during pregnancy occurs as your skin stretches to accommodate the foetus in the womb, this increases the skin elasticity and the skin may form cracks and itch.

Mallika Singh
PregnancyWritten by: Mallika SinghPublished at: Dec 21, 2011
Itching during Pregnancy

Itching during pregnancy

A lot of women experience numerous side effects during pregnancy, and itching is one of the side effects. Itching is a very frustrating side effect and occurs due to the stretching of your skin. Your skin stretches to accommodate the foetus in the womb, this increases the skin elasticity and the skin may form cracks which itch.

A hormonal imbalance and changes in the liver enzymes also leads to itchiness of the skin.  Women are also reported to experience itching on the soles of the feet or on the palms during pregnancy. This is a common problem owing to an increase in the estrogen levels. These side effects are non-existent post pregnancy.

Treating Itching During Pregnancy

  • Ensure that you use plenty of moisturiser. You can look for core components like vitamin E, almond or avocado in your body moisturisers. These specific ingredients in your moisturiser will nourish you skin and fill in the dry skin cracks.
  • Avoid bathing with hot water and hot showers as the steam will dehydrate your skin and remove the moisture for your skin. The dehydrated skin cells will dry and break which will lead to skin irritation and itching.
  • Use a mild soup with moisturising abilities to prevent itching.
  • Some women find relief in warm baths with oatmeal to relieve them of itching.
  • It is suggested that you apply moisturiser right away your bath when your body is wet and moist to enable your skin pores to absorb the moisturiser.
  • Body butters like cocoa butter are high in moisturising content and will smoothen your dry skin and provide relief if your skin has dried up.

Warning Signs if Itching Persists

Be aware of your body and understand the warning signs when itching reaches unbearable stages. Women may develop large itchy patches and bumps called PUPPP. Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP) is a condition characterised by itchy red bumps and hive like patches on the abdomen of pregnant women. PUPPP begins in the third trimester and the discomfort heightens in women expecting twins. PUPPP can occur in any part of the body but is most common on feet, arms, legs and hands.  PUPPP can be eased by using ointments prescribed by your doctor.

Some moisturisers may not help you ease the itching, if the case persists, doctors may prescribe you oral steroids and topical agents. Women usually experience the frustration of itching predominantly during their first pregnancy and not in subsequent pregnancies.

Itching does not affect your child in any way as it is a skin problem and not a disease that can be transferred to the foetus either through the lymphatic or the blood system.


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