Understanding and Alleviating Skin Irritations During Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a beautiful and transformative journey, but it often comes with a myriad of physical changes, some more unexpected than others. One common discomfort that some expectant mothers may encounter is itchy skin, a sensation that can range from mildly irritating to downright distressing. Understanding why it happens, when to be concerned, and what you can do about it can make this aspect of pregnancy more manageable.


So, why does itchy skin become a companion to some pregnant women?

Hormonal fluctuations, increased blood flow, and stretching of the skin to accommodate the growing baby are key contributors. Elevated levels of hormones, particularly estrogen, can lead to heightened sensitivity and dryness. The stretching of the skin causes it to become thinner, further exacerbating the dryness and making it more prone to itching.


When should itchy skin during pregnancy become a concern?

While itchy skin during pregnancy is a common occurrence, certain signs may indicate a need for concern. Persistent itching, especially on the palms of the hands and soles of the feet, can be a symptom of a liver condition known as intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP). This condition requires medical attention, as it may pose risks to both the mother and the baby.

For most cases of pregnancy-related itchiness, there are several steps you can take to find relief.

  • Staying well-hydrated is crucial, as it helps combat dry skin.
  • Opt for gentle, fragrance-free moisturizers to soothe and hydrate the skin.
  • Loose-fitting, breathable clothing can also alleviate discomfort by minimizing friction.
  • Avoid hot showers, as they can strip the skin of essential oils, contributing to dryness.

If itching persists or becomes severe, it’s essential to consult with your OBGYN to ensure the baby’s health. Your local board-certified dermatologist can recommend safe, pregnancy-friendly treatments if itchy skin persists. Remember, while itchy skin can be a bothersome aspect of pregnancy, it is often a temporary and manageable inconvenience on the journey to welcoming your little one.


Are you looking for a dermatologist near you?

Forefront Dermatology and its Affiliated Practices are located coast to coast, with many locations offering appointments in days, not weeks. Find a location near you today.