5 Tricks For Relieving Itching During Pregnancy

· September 5, 2017

A woman’s life completely changes during pregnancy. Her hormones, her body and even her mind appear totally different. She begins to experience important changes, particularly in her skin.

In general, future mothers worry about handling all of the information about what actions they can take at the time of such changes. Some of these can be superficial; others can have consequences if we don’t take the necessary measures to deal with them.

Such is the case of itching during pregnancy, an often uncomfortable situation that we don’t know how to treat, and that sometimes leaves marks on our bodies. Coping with it without causing major trauma is part of our reality during almost all of the pregnancy.

The scientific name is Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP), also known as Obstetric Cholestasis.

Itching during pregnancy

When we’re pregnant our whole body may itch, but mostly in areas like the breasts, abdomen and hips. This is also known as “pruritus,” and occurs when our abdomen extends itself to make space for the baby, which is experiencing rapid growth.

Hormones like estrogen can reach such high levels that this becomes one of the factors responsible for the terrible itching.

How common can this discomfort be?

This is a frequent symptom which effects 40% of pregnant women. Generally, it occurs in the second or third trimester when the skin extends the most. It tends to be a common discomfort throughout this wonderful process of carrying a small and fragile creature in your womb.

Why does this happen?

black and white photo of a pregnant woman

We should bear in mind that all changes during pregnancy are important, whether in the immune system, endocrine system or metabolic system; for this reason the texture or appearance of the skin is no exception. This contributes to the appearance of itching and brings with it dryness and irritation as well as flaking in the epidermis.

Another symptom that you may experience is that the palms of your hands and soles of your feet become red and itchy. This is due to the increase of the hormone estrogen. This almost always disappears at the time of childbirth.

You shouldn’t feel alarmed, because apart from being annoying, this amount of itching is perfectly normal.

Other types of rashes may appear as well. One example is a kind of welt or spot on the abdomen much larger than a normal skin rash. So striking and large that they look like hives; these are called pruritic urticarial papules or plaques of pregnancy.

Tricks for relieving itching

Once we are sure of what the  basic aspects of different types of itching mean, we will show you 5 tricks for relieving this discomfort.

  1.  Take a cold shower, using mild anti-allergenic soap that is made with or contains glycerin, almonds, oatmeal or aloe vera.
  2. Use a moisturizing cream preferably made from natural ingredients or make your own creams that are honey or chamomile based. Or apply natural oils to yourself like: coconut, almond or lavender (this last one is known for its high quality for restoring the epidermis).
  3. Drink a lot of water, and if you do light exercises such as walking, do it in the cooler hours of the day. This will improve your circulation and reduce the itching. Don’t forget to always apply sunscreen; you’ll avoid discoloration on your body due to rash and sun exposure.
  4. Wear loose clothing made with natural fibers like cotton, in light colors.
  5. Take oatmeal or baking soda baths as these are anti-itch substances.

More tips

woman suffering from itching during pregnancy

Here are some tips that you can keep in mind to strengthen the effectiveness of the tricks mentioned above:

  • Try to avoid hot showers or baths. These dry out your skin and aggravate the itching.
  • Use natural detergents and cleaning products.
  • Rinse well with cool water and use soft towels.
  • Try not to go out at hot times of the day, because this could exacerbate the itching.
  • Call your doctor immediately if you think you have cholestasis, because it could constitute a serious problem for your baby.
  • Stay in cool, shady areas as much as possible. Avoid contact with old objects, dust and mites.

These recommendations will help with managing this discomfort and allow you to feel more at ease while preparing yourself for this special day, the arrival of a new family member.

All of these suggestions must go hand in hand with your doctor’s guidance and advice. We hope to safely accompany you during the best chapter of your life, being a mom.