Are you feeling itchy all over your body? Are you unable to understand why’s it happening, and are finding this abnormal?
Are you pregnant?
Calm down and breathe! This is nothing to worry about.
What you are facing is one of the most common difficulties experienced by all women during pregnancy – “Itchiness”.
One Common Question You Have Must Be Whether It Is Normal To Feel Itchy During Pregnancy
It is not rare to feel itchy during your pregnancy, especially around your growing belly and growing breasts. Your skin tends to feel dry as your skin stretches and tightens from the growth of your belly.
This dryness is what causes to feel itchy. Hormonal changes in your body can also be a reason to blame. The changing hormones are one major reason why you feel itchy all over.
The Reasons Why You Feel Itchy During Your Pregnancy
Hormonal changes might be one prime reason for itchiness during pregnancy. But there are also various other reasons due to which you might be suffering from this annoying problem of itchiness.
Some Well-Known Reasons For Itching During Pregnancy Are:
1. Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy (PUPPS):
PUPPS is a condition where there are itchy red bumps and large patches which look like rashes on your stomach. Women carrying twins are more likely to face this condition. PUPPS can also spread to your thighs, back, arms, buttocks, and legs.
A doctor, in normal circumstances, will prescribe a topical ointment to relieve you from this condition. When the itching caused by this condition gets severe, the doctor prescribes an antihistamine or oral steroids.
You need not worry about PUPPS as it does not cause any damage to your baby and disappears soon after your delivery.
It is a condition in which you start to see tiny eruptions on your skin that first seem to be like tiny bug bites. It causes excessive scratching as they start to appear on your limbs, stomach and torso too.
You need not worry about your baby if you are suffering from Prurigo as it does not cause any harm to your unborn baby. Prurigo is generally found in pregnant women who are in their late second and third trimesters.
Your doctor will prescribe you a topical ointment and antihistamines if you are found positive with this condition. In severe cases, oral steroids might be prescribed by your doctor.
3. Pemphigoid Gestationis:
Pemphigoid Gestationis is an extreme case of skin conditions. In this condition, itchy eruptions that look like hives form on your skin which turns into large size blisters or lesions in time. This condition starts near your belly button and spreads out to the trunk, legs, palms, arms and soles.
This condition is much more serious than PUPPS and requires attention and close observation from your doctor. A doctor normally prescribes oral steroids to help you get rid of this condition.
Sometimes, it can also last after your delivery and will tend to reduce as the breastfeeding process starts. It is a serious condition as it can trigger fatal growth problems, pre-term labour and even stillbirth.
4. Impetigo Herpetiform:
Impetigo Herpetiform is more often observed in the third trimester of pregnancy and is a severe form of psoriasis. Your skin starts to grow red patches filled with pus.
These soon start to grow into larger pus-filled white rashes. These patches may appear on your thighs, armpits, belly, under the breasts, groin and other areas.
Some other symptoms of this condition include diarrhoea, fever, nausea, vomiting, and chills. Impetigo Herpetiform is treated with the help of systemic corticosteroids.
5. Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP):
If you are itching a lot, it is advisable to inform your midwife or doctor immediately. In certain cases (though rare), it can be a warning sign of a certain liver problem during your pregnancy. The liver problem is caused by a condition known as OBSTETRIC CHOLESTASIS (OC) or Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP).
ICP is a severe condition in which a person suffers from massive itching. It is a rare condition which occurs in only about 1 percent of all pregnancy cases in the United States alone. ICP is a serious problem connected with the liver.
When bile does not flow consistently from the liver, it starts to build up in the form of bile salts on the skin. This causes intense itching on your skin.
It may also cause you to develop rashes that are red in colour. These rashes are mostly found on the palms, soles and stomach of your body.
Some other symptoms of this condition include malaise, nausea, dark urine, pale bowel movements, jaundice, and loss of appetite.
ICP is known to be extremely dangerous as it can cause stillbirth.
But in general, for most women, itching is not something you need to worry about. Almost every woman suffers from itching during their pregnancy.
Common Skin Diseases For The Cause Of Itchiness
Eczema is a disease which is cannot quite be predicted when you are pregnant. You might tend to develop eczema for the first time. If a woman is already suffering from eczema, it often worsens during pregnancy.
Though, some women notice that their condition has actually improved during pregnancy. It could either get better or worse, while you are pregnant.
It is common for eczema to make your skin itch in the folds of your skin, like the insides of your elbows and knees. It is suggested to ask your doctor to recommend safe treatments for you to soothe eczema.
Thrush is a minor disease that can make you itch is thrush. It is a fungal infection which causes severe itchiness.
Another minor disease that can make you itch. It is caused by tiny mites which irritate your skin, and it’s found to be itchy.
Other reasons for feeling itchy:
- Some pregnant women have found that the palms and the soles of their feet sometimes get red and a little itchy. This condition could be a result of an increase in oestrogens in the body. It usually tends to disappear soon after their delivery.
- You may also find that things such as dry skin that always made you feel itchy, make you feel even itchier when you’re pregnant.
Vaginal Itching During Pregnancy
Vaginal itching is a very common symptom during pregnancy. It mainly occurs because there is an increase in the vaginal discharge during pregnancy. The excess vaginal discharge tends to cause the skin of the female vulva to get irritated.
Another reason for you to experience vaginal itching could be irritation due to soap, lotion or some detergent.
Hence, your vaginal itching could be just because of the vaginal discharge.
But in some rare cases, it could also be a sign of an infection like a bacterial vaginosis, yeast infection, herpes, trichomoniasis, or HPV.
1. Yeast Infection:
Hormonal changes during pregnancy do cause a change in the pH level in your vagina. This pH imbalance can cause a yeast infection. Even a poor diet that consists of excessive amounts of sugar and carbohydrates can cause this infection.
These reasons of poor diet and pH imbalance cause fungal growth in the genital area which results in the yeast infection.
2. Bacterial Vaginosis (BV):
It has been said that around 1 in 5 pregnant women develops this itchy and irritating infection. Bacterial Vaginosis BV occurs when an overgrowth of bacteria which lives naturally in your vagina takes place. During your pregnancy, this can be caused due to a shift in your hormones.
3. Group B Strep and Trichomoniasis (GBS)
Many types of research and sources have said that around 25 percent of all healthy women have the GBS bacteria living in their reproductive system. The GBS bacteria live in the intestinal tract, rectum, or vagina. A doctor does automatically test you for GBS between the weeks of 35 and 37 of your pregnancy.
Trichomoniasis is a sexually transmitted disease caused by a parasite. The Trichomonas vaginalis parasite is transmitted sexually and lives in the vagina of a woman.
Many might also experience the problem of Swollen Vulva. It is necessary to treat this.
Can The Itchiness I Feel Harm My Baby?
In most of the cases, itchiness will neither harm nor affect your baby. It is only something you tend to suffer from, but it does not cause any potential harm to your baby.
Home Remedies For Getting Relief From The Itching
1. Use Ice and cold compresses.
Apply an ice pack or some cold compress to the areas on your skin where the itchiness might have caused any kind of inflammation or redness. The ice pack will cool down your skin and provide you with relief.
2. Dandelion Root herbs and Milk Thistle.
These herbs are especially known for treating liver problems. They are effective natural treatments for treating liver problems. So, they can be used to reduce the itchiness caused by cholestasis and give you some relief. It is natural and safe and is definitely much better than the chemical medications.
3. Take a warm oatmeal bath occasionally.
You can make your own oatmeal bath. Use a coffee grinder to grind the oats to obtain it in the form of powder. With the powdered oats, drop a couple of cups of the oatmeal into a warm bath, and have an itch-relief bath.
Instead of this, you can also buy an Aveeno Soothing Bath Treatment from one of your local drugstores. For attaining maximum relief, make sure that the bath is warm, and not hot. Make sure to gently pat yourself dry with a towel after the bath.
4. Tulsi or Holy basil
Tulsi or Holy Basil leaves are highly rich in eugenol, camphor and thymol. These products have the ability to reduce the irritation and the itch on your skin. All you need to do is just wash a few leaves of Tulsi and rub them over the affected areas.
You can also prepare a tea by boiling few of these leaves in water in a covered utensil. Then use a cotton cloth or cotton ball and apply this tea on all the itchy areas to get some relief.
5. Ointments and calendula cream
These lotions or creams provide relief from dry skin and itching during your pregnancy. You need to rub the cream on the itchy parts of your body to prevent the itchiness. It is among one of the most common remedies for relief from itchy skin among pregnant women.
6. Apply Aloe Vera gel
You can also apply Aloe Vera gel on the affected areas of your skin to reduce the inflammation and itching. Aloe Vera is well-known for its excellent benefits for all skin types. The gel will also create a layer of protection on your skin. It will also prevent you from causing any further damage by scratching your skin.
7. Baking soda and water
You can also mix baking soda and water to form a paste. Apply the paste you made all of your belly and the other areas of itchy skin to reduce any symptom such as redness, itchiness, and pain. It will cool your body and provide you with a lot of relief.
8.If you are suffering from PUPP, applying a scentless powder or calamine lotion on the folds of your skin between your breasts and thighs will help you as it will reduce the irritation and inflammation.
9. Lemon juice
You can also use diluted lemon juice to get relief from itching. Apply a diluted mixture of lemon juice on all those parts that itch, and leave it on to get relief.
10. Gramme flour paste
Gramme flour paste made by mixing gramme flour, turmeric powder and water is not only good for beautifying your skin, but it is also widely used to relieve pregnant women from unstoppable itching.
These are also some measures you should take care of to reduce the inflammation and itching:
- Try to avoid hot baths and showers, as hot water will dry out your skin further and make the itching worse.
- Do not use the loofah, scrubs or body washes while bathing as they can irritate your skin more and increase the itching.
- Use mild and unscented soap, as few scents can cause your skin to feel irritated; be sure to rinse the soap off well.
- Do not scratch no matter how tempted you are. Scratching your skin will only cause further irritation to your skin.
- Use pH-balanced body washes or mild, moisturising soaps to wash your skin.
- Use Moisturizer. After you have showered or bathed, use a gentle, light and fragrance-free moisturiser to help temporarily reduce the itching. Make sure to apply it frequently.
- Try to put cool and wet compresses on the areas where you feel itchy.
- Try to avoid going out in the hot sun, as heat can intensify and increase the itching. The heat is not even good for the baby.
- Wear loose and smooth cotton clothing to help your skin breathe and relax.
- You can also dab on an anti-itch cream. You could feel a certain amount of relief by applying some soothing calamine lotion on to your itchy patches.
- Apply and smooth on some vitamin E oil. This vitamin E oil is extremely healing. It is also effective in giving you relief from sore nipples after pregnancy too.
- Stay hydrated by drinking enough water every day.
There are also home remedies to remove vaginal odor. You can give them a try.
There are always these measures that can be taken at home to find relief from the constant itching. But sometimes, the itching worsens and it is not something that should be avoided and left to be treated at home.
If you are feeling extremely itchy or have a serious rash on your skin, by taking only these measures alone will not be enough to help you to obtain relief or get rid of the itchy sensation.
It would be better if you talk to your caregiver. You might need oral medication or topical, or both might be required.
Home Remedies for Vaginal Itching
As vaginal itching is extremely troublesome, irritating and annoying, certain home remedies can always be taken to prevent the itching sensation in your vagina during pregnancy.
1. Have a saline bath.
A saline bath does not only mean adding Epsom, or rock salt to your bath. You should avoid using scented bath salts. Some doctors have also mentioned that saline baths can cause dangerous side effects.
The salt might absorb too much water out of your skin, so it is advised to bathe for a short period of time especially during your pregnancy. Hot water should be avoided at all times.
2. Add vinegar to bath
Adding a little amount of vinegar to your bathwater can help you by reducing the external itchiness. But in this approach too, having a brief bath is advised. Too much soaking in vinegar and water mix can cause a pH imbalance and lead to more itching
Applying some yoghurt on the affected area of your skin will help you get relief from vaginal itching
4. Baking soda paste
Baking soda, when mixed with a few drops of water, makes a paste that is used to help alleviate the itchiness in your vagina. Having a baking soda bath also helps from the itchiness
5. In some cases, a simple cold washcloth will also offer relief.
6. Do not scratch
Try not to scratch the area, as it can irritate your skin of your vulva and cause tissue damage.
7. Wear clean and cotton underwear as it will help your skin breathe. Underwear made of natural fibre should only be used.
8. Avoid sexual intercourse
It is advised to avoid having any intercourse when you are experiencing vaginal itching during your pregnancy.
Having intercourse can further irritate your skin and cause the itching to increase.
About vaginal itching, it has been said that it is safe to use the over-the-counter treatments for any yeast infection, but you should probably see your doctor before using it.
For vaginal itching, it is always recommended to consult your doctor before treating yourself as it is better to be safe than sorry.
When To Visit A Doctor
Although an itchy skin is something that comes complementary to your pregnancy, if you are suffering from severe itching late in your pregnancy you should talk to your doctor. These are signs and indications of cholestasis.
As mentioned earlier, this disease could also affect your baby’s health. The symptoms of this condition include severe itching spreading on your hands and on your feet.
The symptoms also include light-colored bowel movements, dark coloured urine, vomiting, nausea, fatigue and loss of appetite.
If you are suffering from Cholestasis, you should see your doctor as soon as possible.
For vaginal itching:
You should check up with your doctor if your vaginal itching does not go away. If you are also experiencing any abnormal vaginal discharge, it could be something that needs a check-up.
It is also advised to go to the doctor if you tend to notice anything abnormal on the skin of your vulva such as small cuts, ulcers or raised bumps.