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Itch & the Skin Rash During Pregnancy

Some skin problems start to disturb you in the last two trimesters of your pregnancy. Your growing abdomen may contribute to the skin becoming stretched and tight. Itchy skin is a disturbing hassle faced by about one-fifth of pregnant women. About 20% of pregnant women face the bothersome inconvenience known as PUPPP which starts in the stomach region and then spreads all over the body.


  • This again is more common in the 2nd and 3rd trimesters.
  • Some areas of your skin may itch because they are dry and flaky; other areas may itch because of a prickly heat rash.
  • The itch may be restricted to your abdomen region or it can again spread to other body parts. Patches of dry red flaky rash may appear. The skin which has been stretched is the most obvious reason for this - generalized itching tends to subside after the baby is born.


Scratching isn't the best thing to do; instead these may just help:

  • Use lotions, creams or oils to moisturize the affected areas
  • Wear loose cotton or other natural fibered clothing
  • Use oatmeal bath formulas
  • Avoid warm environments as the itchiness is compounded further.If the above measures do not provide the relief, your doctor may prescribe you medications that can help. Blood tests to check your liver function may be ordered.

Heat Rash

  • Some women develop rashes during pregnancy. These heat rashes also known as prickly heat are quite common.
  • Caused by pregnancy hormone combined with an already overheated body and the friction of the skin rubbing against itself or against clothing, the skin perspires and becomes damp which in turn causes the rash to appear.
  • Pimply and slightly irritating, prickly heat rash is most common in the skin folds and creases.
  • Increased perspiration can cause the skin to develop rashes called intertrigo which is more common in overweight women. Sweaty skin folds under the breasts, below the abdominal bulge or in the groin area cause fungi to thrive and result in inflamed skin or infection. The problem should not be neglected for long as with time it becomes more difficult to treat.


  • Common rashes improve with gentle home care. The general rule is the less friction the better.
  • Avoid scrubbing the skin with loofahs or body brushes and sponges. Pamper your skin with gentle touches using gentle cleansers or non-perfumed soaps.
  • Oatmeal baths and baking soda baths can help provide the relief.
  • Apply cotton starch to the skin after a rinse.
  • Avoid hot baths or showers; towel dry gently.
  • To prevent intertrigo, wear loose fitting cotton clothes at all times. Treat skin rash with calamine lotion, baking soda or zinc oxide powder.If self-care measures fail to do the job or if your rashes worsen or persist, check with your doctor. A steroid, antibiotic or antifungal cream may be prescribed.


  • Severe itching with reddish raised patches on the skin is a condition called pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy. PUPPP affects about one in every 150 pregnant women.
  • PUPPP tends to come and go during the second half of the pregnancy and nearly always vanishes shortly after delivery
  • The itch starts in the abdomen and then spreads to the arms, legs, buttocks and thighs. A break out of itchy bumps called papules or plaques appear on the affected areas.
  • The cause is unknown but it tends to run in families. It is commonly found in first time mothers (rarely does it occur in subsequent pregnancies) and multiple pregnancies;
  • It is treatable with prescription medicine in the form of oral medications or anti-itching
  • Although mums have a miserable time dealing with PUPPP their unborn fetus' remain unaffected by it

Other Pointers

  • Stay away from synthetics such as polyester which tend to trap moisture. Avoid using panty hose altogether to prevent rashes on your thighs and buttocks.
  • Apply unscented powder under your bra band and between your thighs to minimize irritation.
  • Stay away from harsh cleansers that dry the skin, products containing alcohol and highly perfumed products.
  • Apply emollients liberally and frequently to skin which dries and flakes easily, especially in areas where your new, larger body rubs against itself and your clothes
  • To relieve itching add a tablespoon of baking soda and a tablespoon of cornstarch to a quart of warm water and use a towel to make a compress to drape over the itchy parts. Alternatively soak in a tub of water mixed with a half a cup each of baking soda and cornstarch. Stay long enough to relieve the itch and get clean but get out before your skin becomes too dry.
  • Hydrate your skin by drinking plenty of water. Eat a balanced diet as poor nutrition makes skin worse.

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