Itching during pregnancy is a common complaint of many women. The problem can be mild and well-tolerated while, on the other hand, some women have to face unbearable itching sensation. In some cases physiological processes which take place during pregnancy are blamed for such sensation while, in certain number of cases, the problem can be the consequence of some serious diseases.
Potential Causes of Itching during Pregnancy
In majority of cases itching develops as a result of rapid growth of the uterus. The skin of the abdomen stretches quickly without previous preparation and this leads to itchy sensation. It is also possible for women who are already suffering from xerosis (abnormal dryness of the skin) to experience aggravation of the already existing problem.
Skin rash of different origin is another potential cause of itching during pregnancy. The rash may develop due to overheating of the body (effect of hormones or exposure to high temperatures), rubbing of the skin against garments or wearing clothes made of synthetic fiber etc. Such rash predominantly affects skin folds.
There is one condition characteristic for the third trimester. It is called pruritic urticarial papules and plaques. The skin lesions first affect the abdomen and then spread to other parts of the body (usually the thighs and arms). This is not a serious disease and never causes harm to the baby.
Phemphigoid gestationis is a skin condition which affects pregnant women and is characterized by itchy eruptions of hives. The skin lesions resemble blisters. This condition should be taken seriously since it may be responsible for fetal growth retardation or preterm delivery.
Pregnant women may additionally complain about vaginal itching. Such problem usually originates from a change in the pH level of the vagina or may be associated with sexually transmitted diseases.
And finally, one more cause of itching during pregnancy is intrahepatic cholestasis. Because of improper passage of bile, there is pooling of bile salts and bile accumulation in different parts of the body, including the skin.
How to Deal with Itching during Pregnancy?
Prior opting for any remedy or even medication in order to stop itching, a pregnant woman is due to consult her doctor. It is best to assess potential causes of itching, identify the actual one and then choose the most convenient treatment.
Women with dry skin should avoid taking hot showers and baths and they are supposed to apply plenty of moisturizing lotions/creams on the skin. There are many products to choose from and by doing so and applying a proper moisturizer a woman can kill two birds with one stone, treat and prevent itching and prevent formation of stretch marks. Furthermore, itching can be eliminated with wearing loose fitting clothes made of natural fiber (cotton).
Vaginal itching requires further tests and sometimes prescribed medications. The same goes for phemphigoid gestationis and intrahepatic cholestasis.