Body itching during pregnancy is one of the common problems that almost 20% of pregnant women experience. In 99% of cases, it is resolved immediately after giving birth or a few weeks after that. But in some cases, it becomes so annoying that the person has to go to a dermatologist.
But what is the real cause of itchy skin during pregnancy? Is body itching dangerous during pregnancy? And most importantly, how can this condition be treated or alleviated?
Answers to these questions and others are given in this article. So, stay with us until the end.
What are the Causes of Itchy Skin during Pregnancy?
Itching in pregnancy sometimes happens for no specific reason. In the following, we explain the most important reasons why pregnant women’s body becomes itchy during pregnancy.
Hormone level disorder
As you know, the level of hormones increases or decreases during pregnancy. This is the main cause of many pregnancy problems, including itchy nipples during pregnancy. Estrogen increase in the body is one of the causes of pregnancy itching. Also, following these hormonal changes, the blood supply to the skin increases, which also affects skin itching.
On the other hand, irregularity of hormones causes dryness of the skin surface. Dry skin in non-pregnant people also causes itching in the body. Therefore, it is normal for the skin to itch due to dryness during pregnancy.
Among the complaints of mothers to gynecologists is body itching in the eighth month of pregnancy. It is also experienced in the entire last trimester of pregnancy. This itching is much more uncomfortable in some areas, especially the abdomen and breasts, and nipples. It is because the skin is stretched more than usual in a short and fast period,
This issue happens to people who experience their first pregnancy or who are pregnant with twins. It should be noted that excessive scratching of the abdominal area not only does not help to improve the itching but also increases its intensity.
Also, its effects may remain in the form of lines or scars. So, due to its inappropriate appearance, you have to visit a dermatologist to remove them after giving birth. This increase in size can lead to itchy breasts during pregnancy.
Sometimes expectant mothers complain of itchy feet during pregnancy (especially hands and soles), which may be a sign of a liver condition. In fact, one of the causes of severe itching, which is dangerous and should not be ignored, is cholestasis. This disease mostly manifests itself in the second and third trimesters of pregnancy as obstetric cholestasis (OC) and intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP).
Cholestasis disease of pregnancy is mostly genetic and hereditary and usually resolves after delivery. But treatment should not be neglected. Because the possibility of premature birth and fetal death is more in patients with cholestasis.
Therefore, if you feel itching in parts of your body during pregnancy at night, be sure to discuss it with an obstetrician. It is also the case when the intensity of the itching in the palms and feet is high and accompanied by redness.
Worsening of skin diseases
If a person has skin diseases such as eczema, allergies, yeast infection, or psoriasis in the past and other than during pregnancy, the intensity of itching may increase during pregnancy. Especially for those who have eczema, their disease becomes more severe during pregnancy. But in some people with psoriasis, the symptoms of the disease are less than before.
Pemphigus of pregnancy disease
In very few cases, it has been observed that due to severe itching, hives and blisters are formed. These blisters usually appear on the skin of the abdomen, back of the arm, thigh, and leg. This disease is known as Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy (PUPPP).
PUPPP has been seen in some pregnant women, especially those who are pregnant with triplets or more. This disease does not pose any danger to the fetus.
It usually disappears by itself immediately after delivery or a few weeks later. But the doctor prescribes steroid drugs and antihistamines for relief. So, this can be a cause of itchy legs during pregnancy.
The Relationship between Skin Itching and Gender Prediction
In the past, elderly mothers and grandmothers considered every sign of pregnancy to be related to the gender of the fetus. They even determined the gender accordingly. For example, according to them, for any person who has itchy skin in the first weeks of pregnancy, her child is a boy. In contrast, the skin of a mother with a baby girl is soft and does not itch.
Although these prophecies sometimes come true, according to doctors, dry skin has nothing to do with gender. It is, in fact, caused by changes in hormones. Therefore, itchy skin during pregnancy has nothing to do with the gender of the fetus.
When does Itchy Skin Pregnancy begin?
One of the questions pregnant mothers may ask is, “When does body itching start during pregnancy?” or “Is there a way to prevent itchy skin pregnancy?” It should be said that the onset of itching does not have a specific starting time.
Some expectant mothers’ skin becomes itchy during pregnancy in the first month, and some may not experience this problem until early delivery. Of course, according to research, black people and those with dark skin have less itchy skin. But this cannot be generalized.
Itching may also be due to illness. Therefore, to be sure and before trying any home treatment for body itching during pregnancy, consult a dermatologist.
Home Treatment for Itchy Skin during Pregnancy
There are various methods to treat itchy skin during pregnancy that can greatly reduce the severity of the condition. However, first, consult with a specialist to make sure that itching is not a sign of a specific disease. For this purpose, you can ask the opinion of some online gynecologists.
Then, you can apply the following traditional medicine treatment methods for body itching during pregnancy.
- Avoid food allergens such as fish, eggs, tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and strawberries
- Consume fresh vegetables, walnuts, and meat
- Wash your body with a mixture of organic agents
- Consume brewed nettle leaf or dandelion root tea for those suffering from cholestasis
- Bath with tub water mixed with barley water extract. (Put some barley and chamomile in a cloth and put it in lukewarm water.)
- Avoid stress and keep calm by consuming lavender and chamomile tea, especially at night
- Wear loose cotton underwear and avoid wearing plastic ones
- Cool the skin with a towel or cotton cloth
- Take shower with lukewarm water and avoid bathing with hot water
- Gently massage your body with violet oil
Certain Areas Prone to Skin Itching during Pregnancy
Itchy abdomen during pregnancy
The abdomen may be the itchiest during pregnancy. Abdominal skin itching is completely normal because the abdomen is the part that has changed the most.
Itchy breasts during pregnancy
One of the early symptoms of pregnancy can be breast itching. This itching is due to changes in hormone levels that occur after pregnancy.
Itchy eyes during pregnancy
This is also completely normal. Due to changes in hormones, your eyes may produce fewer tears than before and cause dryness and itching.
Itchy hands or itchy feet during pregnancy
If it is mild itching and is present in the early to mid-pregnancy stages, it is probably safe. But if this itching becomes more severe and appears in the third trimester and increases at night, it may be cholestasis. This is considered a serious risk.
Mild itchy skin condition during pregnancy occurs due to increased blood supply to the skin. As the gestational age increases and the due date approaches, you gain weight. This is when the skin of your abdomen is stretched and as a result, you feel itchy on the stretch marks.
As long as the itching of the abdomen and other parts is not severe, there is nothing to worry about. You can alleviate them by using various home remedies for body itching during pregnancy. The problem starts when these itches become severe. This is the time you must consider visiting a doctor.