How to Relieve Itchy Skin During Pregnancy
Pregnancy can bring about a lot of changes. While everyone is familiar with certain side effects of pregnancy—i.e. weight gain, heightened emotions, and intense cravings—the impact it can have on your skin isn’t always expected. Due to increased blood flow, hormonal changes, and the aforementioned weight gain, pregnancy can lead to acne, stretch marks, eczema, psoriasis, and changes in pigmentation. According to a study from the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), skin changes occur in about 90 percent of pregnant women in one form or another. The good news? These changes typically aren’t permanent. The Mayo Clinic shares that most skin changes seen during pregnancy can be expected to improve or resolve within just three months after giving birth.
Of course, you can’t wait out every skin condition. Itchiness, or pruritus, is a common issue when pregnant and it isn’t one you’ll be content to ignore until post-pregnancy. When you can’t stop scratching your skin, more immediate action is necessary. Especially since, according to the NCBI, the itching is typically worse at night. Thankfully, itchy skin is one side effect of pregnancy that can be easily addressed. To find out how to relieve itchy skin during pregnancy, read on.
How to Address Dry, Itchy Skin During Pregnancy
To find out what causes itchy skin during pregnancy (and how to help relieve it), we went straight to an expert, namely board certified dermatologist and Skincare.com consultant, Dr. Karan Sra. Dr. Sra credits hormonal changes with triggering dry skin—which can in turn lead to itchiness. As with any bout of dryness, Dr. Sra recommends moisturizing regularly. That means moisturizing twice a day, in the morning and night, and being sure to apply your moisturizer of choice directly to damp skin—you’ll help lock in more moisture that way. Moisturizing with any lotion or cream can help to comfort dry skin, but it can also be worth considering a moisturizer that’s specifically meant for reliving itchiness.
How to Address Itchiness Caused by Eczema
Dry skin isn’t the only culprit behind itchy skin during pregnancy. According to the American Academy of Dermatology (AAD), when women become pregnant, an immune system shift can trigger eczema in patients who’ve previously experienced the condition. Frequently, expectant mothers will see existing eczema worsen or have a flare up for the first time in years and the red, scaly rash that results can be extremely itchy. For tips on how to address your eczema, read this!
How to Address Itchiness Caused by Psoriasis
Psoriasis is another skin condition that can induce itching during pregnancy. However, interestingly enough, the AAD reveals that the same immune system shift that can trigger eczema often leads to the clearing of psoriasis. Around 50 percent of pregnant women experience a significant improvement in the state of their psoriasis while pregnant. Those who continue to see symptoms should stick to using topical treatments like moisturizers.
The AAD also notes that pregnant women who stop or change their treatment plan during pregnancy should restart their former regimen after giving birth, as they may see a resurgence of their psoriasis when no longer pregnant.