Why Pregnancy Can Make You Feel Irritated (Literally)

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The joy of being a new parent is accompanied by several hormonal effects on your body, especially your skin. You may have had radiant and clear skin before, but that may not be the case during and after pregnancy. You could be susceptible to rashes, which make your skin itchy, burning and irritable.


Postpartum hives are itchy welts, which are a result of allergens or your changing hormones. The hormone histamine released into the bloodstream can cause the rashes on the feet, back and arms.

These rashes can also be caused due to certain allergens in your food, exposure to extreme weather conditions, medication or insect bites.

If you have hives on your body, you will have blanching, scaly skin, and painful swelling.

Treatment: Hives subside in a few weeks and do not need any medication. Take enough rest, sleep, and eat healthy. Topical application of creams or ointments can give you relief from itching.

If the rashes are severe, your doctor may recommend antihistamine medicines.

Polymorphic eruption of pregnancy:

Polymorphic eruption of pregnancy or PEP is a skin disorder that is common in the first pregnancies. It is more common in women with multiple babies such as twins or more. The rashes appear during the third trimester or immediately after the baby is born.

PEP are itchy rashes, that usually spread from the stretch marks on the abdomen. They begin with itching and then the rashes, small lumps and large red inflamed areas on the skin (plaques) (1). They spread on the trunk, lower abdomen, under the breasts and limbs.

The reason for the condition is not scientifically proven but is suspected to be due to sex hormones and the gender of the baby. It can also be caused due to weight gain or large babies.

Treatment: The condition disappears in a few weeks after pregnancy. You can apply moisturizing creams or ointments to alleviate the itch and associated burn. Moisturizing soaps and soap substitutes are also helpful.

Postpartum, your baby is of utmost importance to you, but taking care of yourself is equally important as your body has undergone several changes in the past nine months.

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