The Truth About Itchy Skin During Pregnancy: Causes, Treatment & More!

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Pregnancy is a time of great change in your body, including changes in your skin. You may find that you have more sensitivity and itchiness than usual.

Itchy skin during pregnancy is relatively common. In fact, up to 20% of pregnant women experience some form of skin itching. 

While it can be frustrating, there are ways to treat itchy skin during pregnancy. In this blog post, we’ll discuss the causes of itchy skin during pregnancy, how to treat it, and other tips for keeping your skin healthy. Let’s get started!

What Causes Itchy Skin During Pregnancy?

The exact cause of itchy skin during pregnancy is unknown, but there are a number of theories. One theory is that itchiness is caused by changes in hormone levels. This would explain why the itching is often worse in the third trimester when hormone levels are at their highest.

Another theory is that the itching is caused by the skin stretching as the baby grows. This can lead to inflammation and irritation, which can in turn cause itchiness.

Finally, some experts believe that itchy skin during pregnancy may be a sign of an underlying medical condition, such as liver disease or diabetes.

Whatever the cause, there are a number of things you can do to get relief from the itchiness.

Pregnancy Cholestasis

Itching during pregnancy can also be caused by intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy, a liver disorder in which the normal flow of bile in your liver is disrupted by the increased levels of pregnancy hormones in your body.

So, what are the cholestasis signs to be aware of? Itching from cholestasis commonly begins on the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet in the third trimester. Itching can spread from your extremities and impact your entire body.

Cholestasis is uncommon, but it is treatable. The only remedy for it basically is delivery, but we don’t want to deliver someone too soon because of that!

If you have cholestasis (which is determined through a blood test) and are not close to your due date, your doctor may offer ursodiol, a medicine that helps lower the quantity of bile in your blood.

Soaking itching areas of your body in cool or lukewarm water may also be beneficial. Your doctor will also want to keep a careful eye on you and your kid in the future.

How to Get Rid of Pregnancy Itching

You don’t have to suffer through itching during your pregnancy—there are various at-home cures you may try.

1. Use a thick Cream/Lotion on a regular basis on your skin

There’s no harm in applying “normal” lotion, but a thick moisturizer with cocoa butter or jojoba oil should be even more beneficial.

You could use petrolatum. This substance provides a protective barrier around your skin, allowing it to heal and prevent further skin dehydration.

2. Gentle Laundry Detergent

Some detergents, particularly scented ones, can irritate your skin and cause itching during pregnancy. Try an unscented gentle detergent and see if that helps.

3. Put cornstarch in your bath

One popular remedy is to add cornstarch to a bath. While there is no scientific evidence to support this claim, many women swear by it.

Cornstarch is thought to absorb excess moisture and provide relief from itching. If you want to try this remedy, simply add 1-2 cups of cornstarch to a bathtub full of warm water.

Soak for 20-30 minutes, then pat dry with a soft towel. You can also use a cornstarch-based powder to relieve itching throughout the day. Just apply the powder to affected areas as needed.

How to Prevent Pregnancy Itching

There’s just so much you can do to avoid itching if you have a medical condition like cholestasis. There are a few things you can do to keep the itchies at rest if it’s connected to skin stretching:

  • Use a humidifier: This can help to restore moisture to the air—and to your skin.
  • Showers should be brief: Aim for 10 minutes or less, and avoid using really hot water, which might irritate your skin.
  • Use gentle cleaning products: Soapless and fragrance-free cleansers are generally gentler on the skin.
  • Wear breathable clothing: allowing your skin to breathe during pregnancy can help you avoid itching. Try loose-fitting clothing made from natural fabrics, such as cotton.

If you experience severe itching during pregnancy—particularly if the itching is accompanied by yellowing of the skin or eyes, dark urine, or pale stools—be sure to contact your doctor.

These could be signs of cholestasis, a serious liver condition that can impact both you and your baby.

Be sure to talk to your doctor if the itching is severe or accompanied by other symptoms. With a little TLC, you can get through this itch-free!

So there you have it, a few of our favorite ways to get relief from the dreaded itch. We hope you got some ideas and that you’ll share this with your fellow mommies – together we can all find some much-needed relief!