Pregnancy is known to bring a lot of strange symptoms to your body, thanks to hormonal changes that affect your skin as well. While these changes are annoying, these skin condition go away after you give birth, Phew! Let’s take a look at what can cause itchiness during pregnancy. Is it normal to experience this? When should you be worried? All these questions and more about an itchy pregnancy will be covered, just listen.
Causes of Itching During Pregnancy
Itching is very common in expectant women. Various reasons help explain the itchiness you may experience during pregnancy. These include:
- Stretching of your skin
Your skin stretches especially during your first pregnancy because your body is making room for the baby. This quick change in your bodies weight is interpreted by the skin, which can lead to the dreaded stretch marks. Did you know that stretch marks contain a genetic component? If you had stretch marks during your pregnancy and want to learn more about avoiding them, listen to Pregnancy Pukeology Podcast Episode 27, or click here to check out the blog Stretch Marks in Pregnancy
You have a higher likelihood of more stretching of the skin when carrying multiple babies like twins, triplets, etc. This causes an irritation to your skin making you scratch your tummy, which is completely normal. The medical term for itchy is pruritus and believe it or not, over 20% of pregnant women have it. When the skin is stretched it creates a small inflammatory disorder causing histamine reaction, mild localized swelling, and a sensation that you just have to scratch. Here are a few reasons why your pregnant belly might be more itchy than usual.
- Your skin gets dry; Pregnancy hormones are known to cause flaky, itchy dry skin
- Use of perfumes or fabrics. Some perfumes and materials can lead to itchy skin
- The fact that pregnancy causes hormonal changes, you may feel itchy in addition to having mood changes.
- Cholestasis of pregnancy. This something you shouldn’t ignore. Cholestasis of pregnancy is a liver disorder that affects the normal flow of bile in your gall bladder as a result of high pregnancy hormones. It causes severe itching of your entire body, often worse on the palms and soles of your feet. Your skin and eyes may turn yellow in severe cases. Seek medical attention if the itchiness gets worse.
- Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy is another common skin condition in pregnancy that cause itchiness. PUPP occurs near the stretch marks and is characterized by red itchy patches, usually at the end of the pregnancy- a period when your abdomen is fully stretched. Sadly, the itchiness can extend to your buttocks.
- Crusty elevation on your arms, legs, and abdomen. They are itchily occurring in any trimester.
Natural Remedy for Your Itchiness During Pregnancy
Do you find yourself constantly scratching? Remember that your skin is the largest organ and whatever you put on it gets into your body and potentially thru to the baby. For this reason I always recommend going natural first. Here are some ways you can protect your body from itching when pregnant.
- Put on loose clothes made from natural materials
- Use a yogurt skin treatment or have an oatmeal bath. They contain detoxifying agents (lactic acid and protein) and hydrate your skin.
- Make your own soap or perfumes to avoid irritant chemicals in the commercial products
- Use moisturizers such as olive oil or coconut oil to prevent your skin from drying
- Apply calamine lotion.
- Ensure you stay hydrated by taking adequate water
- Keep your surrounding moist by turning on your humidifier/fan.
- Take a milk bath.
How to Treat Dry Face Skin
While it is normal to have dry skin on your face while pregnant due to hormonal changes, there are natural ways you use to treat dry facial skin. These include:
- Regular wash-up of your face to get rid of accumulated dead skin cells. This should be done with soap-free cleansers such as Cetaphil or Aquanil- they are less irritant and dry out your skin. If you have to use soap, do so no more than once daily, especially when removing makeup at night. Don’t use deodorants as they soak up moisture.
- Take adequate water to keep hydrated throughout the day keeping your skin moist.
- Turn on humidifiers/fans especially at night to keep your surrounding moist.
- Eat healthily. Include monosaturated and polyunsaturated foods such as olive and canola oils, nuts, and avocados in your diet.
- Use a sunscreen if you have extra sensitive skin. Wear a wide-brimmed hat as well to protect your facial skin.
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