Itching is one of the most commonly heard complaints during pregnancy, especially during and after the second trimester. This is when the pelvic region starts expanding to accommodate for the growing baby inside the uterus.
Once you are pregnant, be prepared for both the best and the worst days as itching is inevitable. While most women complain of the belly itch, some also report itching in palms, feet and other parts of the body.
What Causes Itching On Stomach During Pregnancy?
The itching sensation is caused by the rising and falling of estrogen, the pregnancy hormone.
- Increase in estrogen levels often spikes the itching sensation on the stomach and other parts of the body.
- Sometimes, this may also lead to eczema, a severe skin disease.
- Women with tendency to dry skin may also suffer with psoriasis on their scalp and skin.
- The itchiness and the dry skin usually tend to go away and completely disappear after childbirth.
[ Read: Skin Allergy During Pregnancy ]
Measures To Relieve Itching On Stomach During Pregnancy:
While you can do nothing about the onset of itching, you can certainly take measures that either reduce or prevent itchy stomach during pregnancy to aggravate.
Considering the simple logic that dry skin leads to itching, you can adopt the below measures to deal with the situation:
- Avoid Hot Showers Or Bath: It is said that taking bath in extremely hot water can trigger more itchiness. Indulge in a warm bath that will help get rid of excessive itchiness.
[ Read: Hot Water Bath During Pregnancy ]
- Use Mild Soaps Or Gels: While you may love the strong smells of soaps and shower gels laden with perfumed content, it is advisable to get rid of these while you suffer with dry skin. Use soap or shower gel that is mild in perfume and gentle on the skin, as it will help reduce the itchiness to a great extent.
- Oatmeal Bath: Indulge in a soothing oatmeal bath once in a while. Oatmeal has been proven effective to deal with dry skin conditions. The market is now flooded with oatmeal based soaps that can come to your rescue.
- Choose Your Moisturizer Wisely: Opt for unscented creams after showers to minimize the risk of a reaction on the dry skin. This is usually recommended even while you are not pregnant.
- Dry Clothes: Ensure that you wear clean and dry clothing every day. Clothes rub against your skin, significantly affecting the dryness on the upper layer of the skin. Opt for loose clothing to feel lighter.
- Stay Away From Heat: Heat and sun is said to increase itchiness on the dry areas of your body. Stay away from stepping out in hot weather or sun. The UV rays of the sum also tend to trigger more rashes to an already dry skin.
[ Read: Rashes During Pregnancy ]
Severe Cases Of Itchy Rash During Pregnancy:
Other than the normal itchiness that is common, there are severe cases of rashes that may appear because of an underlying medical condition.
Below are some of the most popular conditions that cause severe belly itching during pregnancy:
1. Pruritic Urticarial Papules And Plaques Of Pregnancy (PUPPS):
PUPPS is a condition characterized by itchy red bumps and large patches of hive like rashes on your belly. The cause of this condition is still unknown, and women carrying twins and multiples are more susceptible to PUPPS.
- Sometimes, PUPPS can spread out to other parts of your body such as thighs, buttocks, back, arms and legs.
- Your doctor will typically prescribe a topical ointment to help you relieve the condition.
- If the intensity is too high, you will be prescribed antihistamine or oral steroids.
- PUPPS is not known to cause any damage to your unborn baby and disappears after delivery.
If you happen to see tiny eruptions that first start out like tiny bug bites, you may be suffering with a condition called Prurigo.
- This is an annoying condition that causes scratching, appearing on stomach, limbs or torso.
- Pregnant women in their late second and third trimesters are likely to get Prurigo.
- Just like in case of PUPPS, you will be prescribed a topical ointment and antihistamines and oral steroids in severe cases.
- Prurigo does not cause any harm to your baby.
3. Pemphigoid Gestationis:
Pemphigoid Gestationis is an extreme case of skin conditions where itchy eruptions that begin as hives turn into large size blisters or lesions.
- This condition first starts out near your belly button and spreads out to the trunk, arms, legs, palms and soles.
- Pemphigoid Gestationis is more serious than PUPPS and requires close observation of your doctor.
- You will be prescribed oral steroids to get rid of this condition. Sometimes, Pemphigoid Gestationis can last even after delivery and is said to reduce with breastfeeding process.
- Pemphigoid Gestationis is a serious condition that can trigger pre-term labor, fetal growth problems and even stillbirth.
- It is important to know the signs and make note of them so that the same can be reported at the earliest.
[ Read: Itching During Pregnancy ]
4. Impetigo Herpetoformis:
Do not jump to the conclusion that Impetigo Herpetoformis is caused because of herpes, looking at the name.
- Impetigo Herpetoformis is a severe form of psoriasis which comes in the third trimester of pregnancy. Impetigo Herpetoformis is characterized by red patches filled with pus that slowly grow into larger pus filled white rashes.
- These patches may appear on your thighs, groin, belly, armpits, under the breasts and other areas.
- Impetigo Herpetoformis also has signs that include nausea, vomiting, diarhhea, fever and chills.
- This condition is treated with systemic corticosteroids. You will be put under close observation in case of Impetigo Herpetoformis.
5. Intrahepatic Cholestasis Of Pregnancy (ICP):
ICP is a severe condition that triggers massive itching. This is a rare condition that occurs in about 1 percent of pregnancy cases in United States alone.
- ICP is an underlying problem connected with liver. When bile does not flow consistently from your liver, it starts accumulating in the form of bile salts on your skin, causing intense itch.
- You are likely to develop rashes that appear red in color. These rashes will appear mostly on soles, palms and stomach.
- Other symptoms of ICP include nausea, malaise and loss of appetite.
- ICP is extremely dangerous and cause stillbirth.
While you are given the required treatment, you will also be frequently monitored via ultrasounds and fetal heart monitoring to check the health and well-being of your baby.
Hope by now you must have known how to stop stomach itching during pregnancy. Do not neglect any kind of rash or severe itchiness. Give a call to your health care provider as soon as you develop any of the above symptoms on your stomach and other parts of the body.
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