Going through a pregnancy is a roller coaster ride of multiple changes and challenges. Along with that pregnancy glow, expecting mothers may also face certain skin issues due to factors such as changes in one’s hormonal structure. Pregnant women may encounter many different skin conditions, and it is important to understand what they are.
Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy (PUPPP)
PUPPP is a condition in which a pregnant woman develops rashes in the abdomen region. It can also appear on the thighs, arms, and buttocks. The rashes can be extremely itchy, but they are benign.
The PUPPP rash usually appears in the third trimester of pregnancy and disappears after the delivery. It is highly likely to occur during one’s first pregnancy and pregnancies where more than one child is born. In cases like these, the skin tends to stretch out significantly.
One can control the symptoms of PUPPP by taking oatmeal or baking soda baths, applying itch-relieving moisturizers, applying cold compresses in the affected areas, and wearing soft cotton clothes.
If the itching becomes severe, one can also consult a medical professional about medicated creams. It is advisable to check with your doctor if you’re looking to use antihistamines or topical steroid creams.
Prurigo of Pregnancy
Prurigo of pregnancy is another benign, but itchy, rash that appears during the second or third trimesters. It is characterized by little bumps that cluster together on the arms and legs but can appear on the stomach as well.
This condition is often mistaken for insect bites. The rash goes away after the delivery of the baby, but may take several weeks to months.
Applying benzoyl peroxide to the affected areas can provide relief. In extreme cases, phototherapy and antihistamines can also help alleviate the symptoms. It is best to consult one’s doctor to know which treatment would work for you.
Pemphigold gestationis is a rare autoimmune skin disease that is said to occur during the second or third trimester. It may also begin during the first trimester or immediately postpartum.
This condition is initially characterized by itchy red bumps around the belly button, which later spreads to the trunk, back, buttocks, and arms within days or weeks. Usually, the face, scalp, palms, soles and mucous membranes are not affected.
In about 2 to 4 weeks, large fluid-filled blisters or plaques can form. Like PUPPP and prurigo, pemphigold gestationis may resolve within a few days after delivery.
Since this condition shares features with other pregnancy-related skin issues, diagnosis may be difficult. The primary goal of the doctor will be to relieve the itching, followed by preventing blister formation and treating secondary conditions, if there are any.
In milder cases, the doctor would suggest the use of topical corticosteroids. Oral corticosteroids may be prescribed for more severe cases. Intravenous immunoglobulin and oral antihistamines are also effective in relieving itching.
Certain immunosuppressive medications can also be effective but they should not be administered without a doctor’s approval.
It is always best to speak to your doctor during your appointments if you notice changes in your skin and body. Early diagnosis of pregnancy-related skin conditions can make your motherhood journey more comfortable and stress-free.
Contact Our Office
To learn more about pregnancy related skin problems, contact our office to schedule a consultation with respected dermatologist, Dr. Howard Horlick