Itching During Pregnancy

Itching during pregnancy does not cause many complications for the mother and the baby, but if there are any special symptoms of itching, it is necessary to consult a doctor immediately.

Many women suffer from itching during pregnancy. Various physical and hormonal changes during pregnancy are typically the cause of this itching. While most cases of itchiness are in the stomach, itchiness can occur in other parts of the body as well.

This pregnancy itch can be kept under control by following some simple techniques. However, itching occasionally goes hand in hand with symptoms that point to a more complicated illness. In that case, it is necessary to consult a doctor immediately.

When does itching occur during pregnancy?


Your stomach itch can start at any time during pregnancy. But in most cases, the problem of stomach itching is more common in the last three months of pregnancy.

In addition to stomach itching, other areas of the body (such as around the anus, around the genitals, and on the breasts) can also cause itching. Others may experience itching all over the body.

Why is itchy during pregnancy?

There are three main reasons for itching during pregnancy:

Various physical and hormonal changes during pregnancy are frequently the cause of itching.
If you have any skin disease or itching problem before pregnancy, it can increase and cause suffering during pregnancy. E.g., atopic eczema.
Certain diseases and health complications related to pregnancy can cause itching.
In most cases, no specific reason can be found for this itching except pregnancy. It is believed that an increase in particular hormones during pregnancy is what causes itchy spots.

It should be noted that the problem of itching in the stomach is greater than in other parts of the body. As the pregnancy progresses, the size of the abdomen also increases. In this, the skin of the abdomen is stretched a lot and becomes tight there. As a result, some changes in the nerves can cause itching in the stomach.

In some cases, itching during pregnancy may be associated with other skin conditions or liver disease. In these cases, there are usually other symptoms besides stomach itching. If this happens, consult a doctor immediately. Therefore, keep an eye on whether you have any other problems along with the itching. The symptoms of these diseases are discussed in the next part of the article.

Effective Home Remedies for Pregnancy Itch


60% of women who suffer from itching during pregnancy do not develop a rash. However, although common itching does not cause many complications for the mother and the baby, it becomes a cause of suffering and irritation for many pregnant women.

Below are 8 effective home remedies that can help you relieve itching at home:

1. Applying a wet cloth or ice to the itchy area

Wet clothes and ice can help reduce itching. For this reason, you can put a wet cloth or an ice pack on the itchy area. Hold this gently for 5–10 minutes. If that doesn’t work, you can keep it like this for a while until the itching subsides.

2. Use a regular moisturizer

Dry skin can greatly increase itching. By retaining adequate moisture in the body, dryness can be controlled to a great extent. You can use a good moisturizer to retain moisture.

It is better to use a moisturizing cream or ointment. If it is not available, you can use moisturizing lotion. In this case, try to choose fragrance-free moisturizers. Sometimes perfumed cosmetics can cause an itchy reaction and increase the itching.

After showering, wipe the body lightly with a towel and apply moisturizer. It helps the body retain moisture. You can also apply moisturizer like this after washing your face.

It is best to apply a heavy moisturizer twice a day to reduce itching. Moisturizer can be used at least once throughout the day after showering and once before going to bed at night.

There is no reason to think that only an expensive moisturizer will be more effective. You can use any type of moisturizer. Also, before buying a moisturizer, try to check the logo, expiration date, and name of the ingredients used on the package.

3. Applying a cream-lotion containing menthol or calamine

You can use menthol or calamine cream on the itchy area. They are safe to use during pregnancy. These may provide some relief from itching.

4. Use unscented and mild toiletries

Soaps, body washes, creams, lotions, and moisturizers usually contain fragrances. Using these scented toiletries can make some people itch, so try using unscented soaps, creams, and lotions. It can reduce the problem of itching. When it comes to soaps and body washes, try to choose unscented and mild, low-alkaline products.

5. Avoid using excessively hot water

Hot water dries out the skin, which can cause itchiness. Therefore, try to avoid using hot water while bathing. Choose lukewarm water instead of very hot water. Try to finish the shower within 10 minutes.

Try to avoid hot water as well as very hot, very cold or very dry weather. These can help reduce itching.

6. Wearing loose cotton clothes

Repeated rubbing of the skin with clothes can irritate the skin and increase itching. Therefore, choose loose and comfortable clothes that will rub less against the skin.

Choose cotton clothes instead of clothes made of synthetic fabrics. Cotton fabrics allow air to circulate through them. As a result, your body will need good air. You can get more comfort from it.

7. Use water mixed with oats

A good way to control itching is to bathe with a mixture of oats. It is called ‘Oatmeal Bath’ in English. Available to buy in stores abroad. You can also make it at home by following the steps below:

  • First, grind the oats very finely. You can use a blender, grinder, coffee grinder, or any such machine for grinding. In this case, choose the finest setting.

Check if the oats are well-ground or not. For this, take a tablespoon of oat powder and mix it in a glass of warm water. Oats are well ground when a milky liquid is formed that mixes well with the water.

 

  • If the water does not turn milky, grind the oats more finely. Then again, mix it with water to check whether it is well powdered. In this way, when the oats immediately absorb the water and become milky in appearance, it should be understood that the oats are ready for use.

If there is a bathtub, pour the oats into the lukewarm water in the bathtub. Make sure that the running water from the faucet or tap falls into the bathtub while pouring the oats into the water. This will allow the oat powder to mix well with the water. Stir the water well and mix the oat powder in the whole water. This water mixed with oats will be suitable for bathing only if it is completely mixed without any lumps. There is no need to use soap, shower gel, or body wash.

Then the body should be immersed in water mixed with oats for 15-20 minutes in the bathtub. If the body is immersed in water mixed with oats for a long time, the skin becomes a little dry. So don’t soak your body for long with this water. Finally, you can get out of the water mixed with oats and gently rub the itchy places with your hands. It should be noted that there is no need to separate the oats from the water and wash the whole body. But if you want to or feel uncomfortable, you can wash the turmeric with warm water.

If you don’t have a bathtub: If you don’t have a bathtub in your house, mix a little thick oatmeal powder with lukewarm water in a bowl. Then take the mixture on a muslin cloth and gently touch it on your itchy spot. Leave this mixture on the skin for 30 minutes. There is no need to wash the body separately afterward. But if you want or feel uncomfortable, you can remove the powder from the oats with a clean cloth and lukewarm water.

8. Adhere to special rules instead of itching

Itching is hard to control. But even a few moments of relief from scratching at the itchy spot only increase the urge to itch. Then I want to itch again. Thus, in many cases, the itching continues like a cycle. Apart from that, itching causes small lesions on the skin. Germs can enter through these and cause skin infections.

So try your best not to scratch the skin, even if it itches. Instead of scratching, gently squeeze the itchy area with the skin of your fingers. Cut nails short and always keep them smooth and clean to avoid skin injury and infection.

9. Coping with stress

Avoid stress. Stress can increase itching.

 

When should I go to the doctor?

A mildly itchy stomach or body during pregnancy is usually not harmful to you or the unborn baby. However, if any of the following symptoms appear, it is important to go to the doctor immediately:

  • If itching increases at a certain time (after evening),.
  • If there is a lot of discomfort due to itching,
  • Although itchy in other parts of the body, the palms of the hands and feet are more itchy.
  • If other symptoms occur along with itching,
  • If there has been itching for a long time.

This is because they can be symptoms of pregnancy-specific liver disease or any other skin disease. If not treated properly in time, it can be fatal for the mother and the unborn child.

 

Liver disease specific to pregnancy


Symptoms of this disease include:

  • Much itching, especially on the palms and soles of the feet. But the whole body can also be itchy.
  • Increased itching in the evening and at night. Excessive itching can lead to peeling of the skin.
  • Dark-coloured urine and pale stools
  • In some cases, jaundice, i.e., yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes.


In medical terms, it is called ‘intrahepatic cholestasis’. This disease occurs only during pregnancy. This liver disease can take a very serious form. This can increase the risk of premature birth and stillbirth.

 

Special skin diseases of pregnancy


Certain skin diseases can occur during pregnancy that do not occur under normal conditions. Although the symptoms of these skin diseases have some similarities, there are several differences in the type of rash and the disease. Common symptoms include an itchy, red rash.

In this case, it is necessary to see a doctor quickly and start proper treatment according to his advice. Some of these diseases have the possibility of serious complications for the mother and especially the unborn child.

Check the table below to find out what other symptoms accompanied by itching can be caused by diseases and the health risks they pose to the mother and the unborn child.

Gestational Pemphigoid

Symptoms

  • A small red rash, blister, or rash develops on the chest, abdomen, or around the navel.
  • Later, these rashes spread all over the body.
  • The blisters may then fill with fluid and become distended.

The Risk

The risk of the baby being born prematurely and being small increases. The mother is also more likely to develop gestational pemphigoid in subsequent pregnancies.

Polymorphic eruption of pregnancy

Symptoms

A small, red rash that is very itchy over the stomach ulcer. However, there is usually no rash on the skin around the navel.
After 1-2 days, the rash spreads to the hands, feet, chest, and back. It then joins together to form a tall rash.
If the skin is fair, a white ring-like scar is formed around the red rash.


The Risk

Mother and baby do not have much trouble except for the mother’s itching.

 

Pustular psoriasis of pregnancy

Symptoms

There is a red rash; the rash contains pus. Usually, such a rash occurs on the chest, abdomen, hands, and feet.
The nail may protrude slightly from the skin beneath it. Some nails may give a little

The Risk

There are chances of miscarriage, stillbirth, premature birth, and small size. The severity of the disease in the mother may increase after delivery.

Atopic eruption of pregnancy

Symptoms

An eczema-like rash occurs on the face, neck, upper chest, elbows, hands, and feet.
Sometimes the skin becomes very dry.

The Risk

The baby in the womb does not have such a problem. The possibility of this disease also increases with the subsequent pregnancy of the mother.

 

Itching Medicine


Consult a doctor if the itchiness problem does not go away after following the home remedies. The expert doctor will diagnose the disease correctly and help with appropriate advice and medicine according to the symptoms. Medicines that are commonly used to treat itching are:

  • Emollient ointments, creams, and lotions
  • Antihistamine tablets
  • Steroid ointments and tablets

Do not use any medicine without emollients without your doctor’s advice. There are different types and dosages of these medicines, many of which are not safe for pregnancy. In addition, using steroids for longer than necessary and in excess doses can increase the health risks for you and your unborn baby.

Frequently Asked Question

If you scratch your belly with your nails during pregnancy, the baby will not have any problems. But scratching with nails causes small wounds on the skin. Germs can enter through these and cause skin infections, which can become fatal in the absence of proper treatment.

So try your best not to scratch the skin, even if it itches. Instead of scratching, gently squeeze the itchy area with the skin of your fingers. Cut nails short and always keep them smooth and clean to avoid skin injury and infection.

You can follow home remedies to reduce stomach itch during pregnancy. If this does not reduce the itching, consult a doctor. The doctor can suggest a suitable and safe cream or ointment according to the symptoms.

However, there are many medications that are safe for normal use but may not be safe to use during pregnancy. So do not use itching cream or ointment during pregnancy without your doctor’s advice.

But you can use menthol, calamine cream, or lotion at home on the itchy spot. They are safe to use during pregnancy. These may provide some relief from itching.

The exact cause of your sores during pregnancy will depend on whether or not your baby will be harmed at all. If the nail is scratched and sore due to general itching, it will usually get better if you take medicines on time, follow the doctor’s advice, and stop itching.

However, if the ulcer is due to a specific disease, depending on the disease, the pregnant mother and her baby may have various complex problems. So, if you have a sore anywhere, consult a doctor immediately. Also, avoid scratching the skin with nails, even if it is itchy.

Written by Shreyshi Saha
Medical review is done by Dr. Senjuti Seemanta

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