Some pregnant women find that their palms and the soles of their feet get red and sometimes itchy. This common condition may be caused by an increase in estrogen. It usually disappears right after delivery.
It's common to feel itchy, particularly around your growing belly and breasts as your skin stretches to accommodate pregnancy. Hormonal changes may also be partly to blame. You may also find that things that normally make you itchy — dry skin, eczema, food allergies — make you even itchier when you're pregnant.
How to get relief from the itching?
Avoid hot showers and baths, which can dry out your skin and make the itching worse. Use mild soap and be sure to rinse it off well and towel off lightly. Then slather on an unscented moisturizer — some scents can cause irritation. Wear loose cotton clothing and avoid going out in the heat of the day, since heat can intensify the itching.
Up to 1 percent of pregnant women develop a condition characterized by itchy, red bumps and larger patches of a hive-like rash on their bellies. This is called polymorphic eruption of pregnancy. It usually begins in the third trimester and is more common among women carrying twins and those having their first baby. The eruptions usually show up first on the abdomen around or in stretch marks (if you have any) and may spread to your thighs, buttocks, and arms. Polymorphic eruption is harmless for you and your baby, but it can itch like crazy!b Your doctor or midwife will want to see you for a diagnosis and will probably prescribe a topical ointment to give you some relief. In severe cases, you may need a course of oral steroids. Polymorphic eruption usually disappears within a few days after delivery, although it sometimes persists for several weeks. (In rare cases, it may even begin after you give birth.) Fortunately, it seldom appears again in subsequent pregnancies. Polymorphic eruption usually disappears within a few days after delivery, although it sometimes persists for several weeks. (In rare cases, it may even begin after you give birth.) Fortunately, it seldom appears again in subsequent pregnancies.
Even more rare than polymorphic eruption, is a skin condition called papular eruptions of pregnancy, which is characterized by many tiny bumps that may look like bug bites. These eruptions can occur anywhere on your body, but you're most likely to get them on your hands, feet, arms, and legs. Although the eruptions can be itchy and annoying popular eruption of pregnancy appears to pose no risk to your baby. This condition generally starts around the beginning of the third trimester and may last for up to three months after you give birth.
In very rare cases, a pregnant woman will develop very itchy eruptions that start out like hives and then turn into large blistering lesions. This rash is called herpes gestationis, although it has nothing to do with herpes virus. The eruptions often start on the abdomen and spread to the arms and legs.
This condition is considered more serious because it may be associated with an increased risk for preterm delivery and fetal growth problems. It usually begins in the second or third trimester, but it can start anytime — even in the first week or two after you have your baby.
Pemphigoid gestationis can come and go throughout pregnancy, and it often flares up after delivery as well. It usually happens again in subsequent pregnancies and tends to be more severe.
Let your doctor know if you develop any kind of rash during pregnancy. Whether or not the rash is related to your pregnancy, it's a good idea to have your caregiver evaluate it and recommend appropriate treatment or refer you to a dermatologist.
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