Itchy skin during pregnancy can be very serious, and you should not ignore it. However, most of the time, this is just a normal pregnancy symptom. We always recommend you speak to your medical provider if you suddenly become itchy, or if your gut is telling you something doesn’t feel right.
There are times when mild itchy is normal and there are times when extreme itch is a sign of something serious.
Causes of Mild Itching During Pregnancy
- Increased Blood Flow: As with everything in pregnancy, your skin is experiencing an increase in blood flow. This increase may cause your skin to be more sensitive and sometimes more itchy.
- Stretch Marks: As your baby grows, your skin needs to catch up. Sometimes stretch marks appear as your skin expands around your baby, and the stretching of your skin can cause everything to itch a bit more.
- Hormones: Your body is changing, and your hormones are really changing. With the increased level of hormones, specifically estrogen, can cause your skin to be itchy.
How to Treat Mild Itchy Skin
- Cold Compresses: Placing cold compresses on the most itchy parts of your body feel great. As an added bonus, it forces you to be still for a minute!
- Baths: Adding oatmeal or episome salts to a bath can help reduce the full body itch and are great times for a bit of self-care.
- Wearing Loose Clothing: breathable clothes are great as they will not be clinging to your skin, especially during these hot North Carolina days.
- Pregnancy Belt: As your skin expands, it can almost feel like it is pulling apart. Pregnancy belts help support your muscles while taking pressure off the stretching skin, and may reduce some itching.
Itchy Skin + Rash
While having a rash during pregnancy is not necessarily dangerous, you should discuss it with your medical provider. One possible reason for having a rash, usually on your stomach, may be a sign of PUPPPP Rash (Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy). Sadly, there is not much relief, but speaking with your medical provider is always advised.
When Itchy Skin During Pregnancy Isn’t Normal
While most of the time, itchy skin is fine. However, never ignore your intuition. If you feel like something isn’t right, call your doctor or midwife. A few signs that you should definitely call:
- Extreme Itchy: Extreme itching, especially on your hands and feet and especially at night, during pregnancy is never normal. As I can tell you first hand, extreme itching can be a sign of rare, but serious pregnancy complication called Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP).
- Something Feels Off: You know your body, so when something doesn’t feel right, speak to your medical team. It always better to be told it is nothing.