Itching During Pregnancy – Causes & Treatment

A normal itch urges us to scratch and makes our life totally detestable. It is even worse when you have to go out in public and your private parts are attacked by uncomfortable itchiness.

Itching during pregnancy is a very common problem where most women fall prey to this little monstrous thing that can drive out their sleep.

During pregnancy, especially in the third trimester females become more aware of their coming little ones and are prone to fretting and more tension. Added to this sudden itchiness really escalates the woe.

Basically itchiness during the pregnancy period can be a manifestation of various inherent and extrinsic factors. It sometime leads to rashes over the baby bump or the breasts and at other times it might stay limited to the itch only.

Contributing Factors for Itchiness During Pregnancy:

As discussed there are multiple causes of itchiness and some of them are most common in women-

  • As your belly bulges the skin stretches and is always under tension. This stretchiness needs to be accommodated by the body and this leads to the feeling of itchiness. The blood supply to the dermal layers increases during this phase, thus problematizing the situation, more.
  • Overhauling hormonal changes are always to blame for any skin problem during pregnancy. The massive hormonal changes that your body undergoes can really make your skin break out or itch at times.
  • Women with dry skin are susceptible to itchiness more during pregnancy as the dermal layers might get parched out. Even cases of allergenic reactions due to irritation, friction or allergens in diet can trigger itchiness too.
  • Dermatologists have detected that eczema can me a main cause which causes the itchiness. If any pregnant lady already having this problem before conceiving feels itchier, eczema can be the culprit. However, it is not uncommon to develop this while one is pregnant.
  • Thrush or scabies like skin problems can also make your skin prone to itchiness.
  • In severe cases of itchiness obstetric cholestasis (OC) can be a major cause, perpetrating in liver problems, which in turn gives rise to these skin issues.
  • Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques during Pregnancy (PUPPP) can cause itchiness too as these are red spots on arms and legs that gradually fade away after the delivery.

When to Consult a Doctor Regarding Itchiness During Pregnancy?

Generally itchiness during pregnancy would not pose any harm or health risk for your baby, but it can be really irritating and uncomfortable, especially with the growing body-weight.

However, if one observes itching of hands and feet accompanied with dark urine and unnaturally colored bowels, it might be a signal to see your doctor. Aggravated nausea or vomiting, fatigue and clear decrement of appetite should also be taken seriously.

Getting a check done would not harm you; rather it would secure you and your unborn baby.

Tips to Treat Itchiness During Pregnancy:

There are various tips and treatments that can soothe and eventually remove those bumpy rashes or itchiness.

Abiding by them with a proper medical guidance is always recommended. Talk to a doctor regarding this issue and follow these techniques to soothe your itchy skin.

  • Firstly no matter how relaxing hot water bath seems, do not overtly indulge in it. It can make your skin feel dehydrated and has all the capabilities to dry out your skin. Lukewarm water is perfect for bath, but definitely not steaming hot water. The water temperature must be pleasant so that dryness cannot urge itchiness anytime.
  • Do not harshly towel dry your skin, rather dab dry the moist skin after bath.
  • Some itches can be purely out of hormonal changes causing acne and any Benzoyl Peroxide or AHA gel would do the trick of healing them.
  • Irritated or broken skin is never to be washed with strongly perfumed cleansers as it can further aggravate the itchiness. Usage of body roll-ons or deodorants should be restricted on arms to avoid the problem.
  • Never insist on scrubbing the skin with harsh, uneven granular scrubs or using loofahs and body brushes as they would make your skin more vulnerable.
  • Despite these, one should not forget to clean the skin as dirt accumulation is very unhealthy and can be bad for the skin too. Using pH-balanced soaps and moisturizing body washes are ideal for this purpose.
  • Hydrating and moisturizing is the key to provide nourishment to your dry skin. Aloe Vera gels or products like creams and washes containing this ingredient would be charming for the skin. After shower apply a generous amount of intense moisturizer as it would restore the moisture of the skin, well.
  • Body oil use while baths are regular habit of some women, so it is necessary to use one with linoleic acid. Oils having oleic acid ingredients like Mustard or Olive has to be avoided in order to avoid eczema problems. Vegetable oils are better and richer in linoleic acid content and form a protective layer on the skin and would not dry out the skin at all.
  • Eczema sufferers should not try any experimentation with their skin, it is better to stick to the ointment or cream prescribed by the doctor or dermatologist after making skin tests.
  • Soothing calamine lotion can be very much useful for itching skin as it has a calming and soothing effect.
  • An instant relief can be easily received if you place some cool thing on the itchy area. A cold towel or a cool slice of cucumber is ideal to numb the area and stop the itchiness.
  • Vitamin intake should be sufficient in order to enhance the skin quality. A diet enriched with Vitamin C, E as well as beta carotene, zinc is to be incorporated so that your skin texture improves and itchiness gets reduced. Vitamin supplements should not be overused, abide by the medical norms. Prefer natural sources of vitamins through food, rather than medicines.
  • Mere external hydration would not do, ensure that you have around 10 glasses of water daily to make your skin supple. Include fresh juices to make your body toxin-free so that your skin becomes more radiant and glowing.
  • In case of itchy breasts make sure the lingerie is clean and made of breathable material.
  • Avoid scratching the itchy areas, it would breed infection. Rather gently rub the area with a clean cotton cloth to stop any unwanted irritation. In case you cannot at all resist scratching and unmindfully engage in such act, try out wearing gloves at nighttime and regularly trim your fingernails.
  • Dandelion root mixed with milk thistle can be fabulous for treating itchiness caused due to liver problems.
  • If one notices such itchiness in body, tanning lotions or any toxic chemicals should not be applied over the affected part. This can make the situation worse.
  • Creams like Calendula can prove to be marvelous for alleviating the problem of itchy and rash-prone skin.
  • Baking soda has innumerable clinical goodness beyond one’s imagination. Make a paste of it by mixing it with water and apply it all over the bump to heal any redness, sore or itching problems.
  • Diphenhydramine cream or pills are sometimes suggested by doctors as it is an antihistamine.
  • Epsom salt bath is very good for itchy rashes that do not ooze out pus.
  • Salicylic acid, Urea cream or Lactic Acid mixture can be applied after talking to the doctor.
  • Menthol creams cool the skin and can be generously used.
  • Witch hazel lotion is a proven solution for itching skin too.
  • Washing clothes with harsh detergents can be really dangerous, as particles of residue detergent may stick to the fabric and not be washed thoroughly. This would irritate any skin type. Thus washing clothes properly with mild and fine quality detergent is a must.
  • Homemade usage of oatmeal preparation while bathing can be effective.
  • While heading outdoors do not forget to use skin-friendly sun protection formulas that have been prescribed to you by the dermatologist.
  • It is best to wear cotton clothes as this material is breathable and would not suffocate your skin. Try to settle for smooth-finish clothes as it would not pose to be a problem for you.
  • Try to stay indoors as overheating can make your skin itch more and affect your fetus too.

Is Itchiness Related to more Serious Health Issues?

These problems can be an indicator of graver problems like cholestasis. It can occur during the third trimester specially. In some cases the bile flow is not normal and as a result bile salts get clustered on the skin.

It primarily affects the skin of feet and hands but it can spread to any other body part. If any woman has ICP then she might even face allover itchiness. In such cases the itchiness gets aggravated at night time.

If one is affected by such problem which can be a bit dangerous, she might evidence nauseated tendencies and mild jaundice is not uncommon.

For medical diagnosis it is advisable to talk to your doctor or midwife in order to get some routine checkup or have some tests done.

  • ICP if untreated can cause stillbirth and that is fatal. Thus diagnosis is most crucial. Doctor would recommend ultrasound tests at regular intervals and fetal heart monitoring frequently. Liver functioning tests are also vital at this point of time as the fetus can be unwontedly harmed.
  • Medications of liver should be taken only after talking to your doctor and this would reduce any health risk for the child.
  • If the case is very serious the baby might be even delivered prematurely. When ultrasound or monitoring detects any abnormality the delivery is timed as per the status of critical condition. If the doctor understands that the delivery is not too urgent then the time span can be extended. As soon as the delivery is done the itchiness would go away in and around 14 days time. ICP can even happen to women delivering twins too.

Therefore a thorough awareness of the problem and a total understanding of the situation are highly recommended to avoid any sort of unwanted circumstances.

This problem is not really life-threatening for the mother and the child as it can be wiped out easily. However, taking no note of the symptoms would be too much of a risk.

Homemade packs are good to start with but a medical consultation should be the prime thing. One needs to heal the problem and not merely endure it.

As discussed the situation can become even more dangerous if the itchiness gets out of control and it can risk your child’s health too. Stillbirth is often noticed if liver issues aren’t resolved timely.

Cooling the area and trying to stay away from aggravating factors is a great idea. In case of pus filled itchiness, the skin must be cleaned up and medically treated.

Do not take up your health issues o your own hands as pregnancy makes you more vulnerable to physical problems directly or indirectly affecting the child.

In medical surveys it has been evidenced that women who maintain a better hygiene, diet and are fully aware of the facts and possibilities are less prone to unwanted itchiness during pregnancy.

Henceforth following the tips to soothe and consulting a doctor during the urgent time is the key to a healthy pregnancy that would not be affected by hazards and heart wrenching incidents.

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