Changes in skin color, texture and appearance is common during pregnancy. Darkening of nipples and genitals, melasma (dark pigmentation on the face), linea nigra (dark line from umbilicus to pubic area) are normal in pregnancy. These changes should not be confused as pregnancy rash.
Many women complain of rash and itchiness around their growing belly, in the groin area, below the breast, in armpits and in skin folds during the pregnancy period. Tightening and stretching of skin, hormonal changes, feeling of excessive heat and perspiration etc are responsible for rash during pregnancy.
Heat Rashes During Pregnancy
Heat rash is the most common form of rash in a pregnant woman. It is also known as prickly heat. Heat rash is caused due to increase of pregnancy hormones as well as due to heat, friction of clothes and excessive perspiration. They appear as tiny red eruptions especially on the skin folds and creases, such as on neck, underarms, below the breast etc.
Heat rash is not a serious ailment, however the itching and irritation of heat rash is very disturbing for a pregnant woman. Generally, heat rash heals with simple home remedies such as an oat meal bath or baking soda bath. Cold sponging or applying aloe vera gel is effective home treatment for prickly heat during pregnancy. To avoid heat rash a pregnant woman should not take warm baths and she should wear loose fitting clothes.
Types Of Skin Rashes In Pregnancy
There are certain rashes that occur only during pregnancy. These rashes are;
- Pruritic papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP).
- Impetigo herpetiformis.
- Herpes gestationis.
- Prurigo gestationis.
PUPPP is the most common of all the four forms of rashes. 1 percent of pregnant women are known to develop red itchy bumps and large hive like rash on their abdomen. The condition is prevalent during third trimester and disappears after birth of the child. The rash begins on the abdomen around the stretch marks. It may spread to the thighs, buttocks and the arms. The rash never appears on face. The condition is harmless for both baby as well as the mother, but itching can be an annoying symptom for the pregnant woman.
Impetigo herpetiformis: is a rare but serious skin ailment during pregnancy. They are small pus filled cluster of blisters in the groin, underarm, folds of knees and elbow. Once the blisters dries, several other blisters appear around the dried blisters. The pus filled blisters are accompanied with fever, chill, joint pain, vomiting and diarrhea. The condition is seen during the third trimester and disappears after childbirth leaving scars. It has to be treated promptly as there is great maternal as well as fetal risk involved.
Herpes gestationis is rare skin condition during pregnancy, though the name herpes, it is not caused by virus herpes simplex. Small fluid filled blisters appear on the body, palms and soles. It is more common in second trimester. Pregnant women can suffer from kidney failure and other complications after the infection.
Prurigo gestationis: red itchy spots appear on the abdomen, on the arms and legs. The condition is harmless and the rash disappears after delivery.
Treatment For Pregnancy Rashes
The treatment depends on the type of rash. In most cases of pregnancy rash where complications are rare, can be treated with home remedies and other conventional medicines.
- Use moisturizer and lotions on the skin to relieve itching.
- Take warm oat meal bath to alleviate itch, it also soothes the skin.
- You can apply cocoa butter over the stretch marks. It is a good moisturizer.
- To reduce skin itching and irritation, especially for PUPP apply talcum powder over the area.
- You can also apply cold compresses over the itchy area.
- Avoid hot baths when there is pregnancy rash.
- Eat a well balanced diet and drink plenty of water to keep your skin well hydrated.