Itching during pregnancy: When to worry & home remedies that work

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Sometimes itching during pregnancy can be a cause of concern. This is why we thought it is necessary for every pregnant woman to know about itching and when is it that they should be worried

Ask any mother and she’d tell you that the most annoying pregnancy symptom that they experienced during when they were expecting was itching. Itching during pregnancy is so common that many would-be mums just dismiss it as a normal pregnancy symptom.

However, sometimes itching during pregnancy can be a cause of concern. This is why we thought it is necessary for every pregnant woman to know about itching and when is it that they should be worried.

Itching during pregnancy: What is normal

Itching during pregnancy is caused as your skin stretches to accommodate the new baby and becomes dry and moisture-deprived in the process.

The increasing levels of oestrogen also lead to excessive itchiness during pregnancy. While most of the times the itchiness happens during the third trimester, many women also experience it during the first time due to the raging pregnancy hormones.

  • Pregnant woman would have the urge to scratch almost anywhere in the body, especially around the belly area breasts.
  • Dry skin can also make your skin extremely itchy during pregnancy, which is why it adviced to keep your skin moisturized and supple.
  • Many women who have eczema and psoriasis previously also report of an increase in flare-ups during pregnancy.

When you should go to the doctor

While mild itching which has no other symptoms, especially in the last few months, is considered to be normal, moderate to severe itching which doesn’t seem to get better can be a cause of concern for pregnant women. Here’s when you should be worried:

  • Pregnancy Cholestasis: Itching that seems to spread rapidly to your hands and feet and produces additional symptoms such as nausea and fatigue could mean that you have cholestasis, a liver problem that affects many pregnant women in India. This happens when bile doesn’t circulate normally in your liver and bile salts get accumulated in your skin. This itching can happen on your soles and palms first and gradually spread to your feet and other parts of your body. If left untreated it could also affect your baby’s health.
  • Pruritic urticarial papules: Itching that spreads to the arms and legs, but produces no additional symptoms is referred to as pruritic urticarial papules and plaques during pregnancy (PUPPP). PUPPP is also accompanied with itchy red spots all over the body or just the arms and legs and usually goes away on its own. However, make sure you speak to the doctor about it. It usually happens during the third trimester.
  • Prurigo of pregnancy: Prurigo or popular eruptions of pregnancy is a relatively rare pregnancy condition and one that fades away soon after pregnancy. However, it may also last three to four months post the baby’s birth. The symptoms are tiny, itchy red bumps that look like bug bites, which can appear almost anywhere on the body, especially your limbs, back and abdomen.

Home remedies to soothe it

Mild pregnancy itching can be treated safely at home with a number of natural remedies that would not alleviate itching, but also moisturize your skin. Here are a few most effective ones.

Coconut oil: Coconut oil has just the right combination of fatty acids that are excellent to soothe your itchy skin, besides making your skin supple and moisturized. Just pour a little coconut oil on your palms and apply all over the body or on the affect area twice a day, especially after bath.

Aloe Vera Gel: Known for it’s soothing properties, aloe vera gel can be very useful in relieving pregnancy itching and also preventing stretch marks. Just take pure, organic aloe vera gel wherever you’re feeling itchy and leave it overnight.

Baking soda: You can also apply a baking soda paste on the itchy areas. Take 1 teaspoon of baking soda and mix it in just enough water to make a thick paste. Apply on the affected area and leave for 15 minutes and wash off.

Cold water baths: Make sure that you take cold water baths and avoid using hot showers as it makes your skin even more dry.

If you have any insights, questions or comments regarding the article , please share them in our Comment box below. 

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