Rash During Pregnancy

image001A pregnancy rash can be defined as a type of inflammatory reaction of your skin. This inflammation causes changes in the look of your skin’s color or texture. Normally, this rash can affect a section of your body’s skin or the whole body. This rash can also cause swelling and itchiness. There are numerous factors that can cause a rash. These can range from mild reasons to more serious ones. Insect bites, allergies, infections, medicines and disorders of the connective tissues are some of the causes of rash.

However, there is a certain type of rash that only occurs when one is pregnant. The most common rash is referred to as the Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP).

Pregnancy Rash-- PUPPP

As mentioned above, this is the most common type of pregnancy rash. This rash mostly occurs when one is about 35 weeks pregnant. Mostly, PUPPPs happen to most women during their first pregnancy. Besides the rash, the itchiness lasts for at least one week, but it never really goes away completely. As much as having PUPPPs is uncomfortable, experts and doctors do not view it as a threat to the unborn baby or the mother.

This type of pregnancy rash is also referred to as PEP in the United Kingdom, late onset prurigo of pregnancy, toxic erythema of pregnancy and pregnancy rash. According to statistics, PUPPPs happen in an average of 1 of any 200 first time pregnancies.

What Are the Symptoms of the Most Common Pregnancy Rash (PUPPP)?

According to most women, the itchy part of the PUPPPs is the most uncomfortable part. Even though this skin rash does cause red marks around the abdomen, it is important for any woman to pay close attention to certain details as this help to determine whether they are actually suffering from PUPPP or not. These details include:

  • Extreme itchiness
  • Changes in color appearance
  • Small blisters formation
  • Redness
  • Lesions that is eczema-like
  • The rash appears on the abdomen first
  • The rash does not appear on the belly button
  • Stretching of the skin and stretch marks

PUPPPs appear in the form of bumpy and itchy papules that turn to red and look like scalded skin with welts after some time. PUPPPs begin as stretch marks and later become bumpy with time. They eventually turn red and become bigger. The rash starts around the belly button and to the abdomen and eventually to other parts of the body.

When to See a Doctor

See your doctor if you notice itchiness in the early stages. They will evaluate the condition to diagnose the cause and main problem. This ensures they give the right treatment or refer you to a dermatologist.

What Causes the Most Common Pregnancy Rash (PUPPP)?

While this is a common problem there is no known cause of the condition. However, doctors have reported some similarities in the cases reported. Though they are not causes, some of these similarities include:

  • First pregnancies
  • Women expecting baby boys
  • Carrying multiple babies
  • Hypertension

How to Treat the Most Common Pregnancy Rash (PUPPP)

  • Creams and ointments. Depending on how severe the PUPPP condition is, doctors make use of aqueous ointments and topical moisturizers to treat mild cases of this pregnancy rash. Corticosteroid ointments are used and oral corticosteroids are used for extremely serious PUPPP conditions.
  • Antihistamine tablets can be prescribed to offer the expectant mother relief from the itchiness. Even so, antihistamine drugs do not work as well as the ointments and creams.

The good news is that this condition goes away one or two weeks after delivering the baby. However, some women are unlucky as this condition can go on even after giving birth. In other cases, some women use homemade remedies to treat PUPPP.

  • Oatmeal and aloe baths can soothe the itching and also decrease the red appearances on your skin. Using ice packs is also a good way of taking down the swelling and redness.
  • Wearing baggy clothes is also a good way of preventing discomfort when pregnant and more so if you are prone to skin rashes. The rash is aggravated by heat, the sun, tight clothing and warm water. It is important to stay cool to contain the itchiness and other symptoms.
  • Relieve the itchiness.  Simple measures can be taken to relieve the itchiness.
    • Taking occasional warm oatmeal baths
    • Using unscented moisturizers and lotions
    • Putting cool and wet compresses on itchy parts
    • Avoiding the heat of the day by remaining indoors
    • Wearing loose and smooth cotton clothes
    • Avoid hot baths/ showers

    Other Possible Causes of Pregnancy Rash and Itchiness





This rash condition does not pose any threats to the baby. However, it is known to continue for months after delivery. It is characterized by itchy, red bumps on the legs and arms and sometimes on other parts of the body. Antihistamines and corticosteroid creams can help in controlling the itchiness.

Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy

This is a type of pregnancy rash that is common during the 3rd trimester. It comes as a result of elevated bile fluid levels in expectant mothers. This is caused by liver slowdown that is caused by pregnancy hormones. This rash comes with the risk of premature birth and also death of the baby if it is not diagnosed early enough. Medication to reduce the amount of bile fluids can be administered as well as anti-itch formulas. This is a rash type that can affect the child’s liver. This rash clears up after birth.

Pemphigoid Gestationis


This is a very uncommon rash known to affect one in every fifty thousand pregnancies. This is an autoimmune condition that is characterized by round patches on the abdomen. This rash hardly affects the mother’s face, neck or scalp. The condition can be managed using corticosteroids. It loses the risk of premature delivery and low birth weight in babies.

Impetigo Herpetiformis

This is common in the second trimester. It is characterized by rashes that release pus, and sores. These open sores can lead to other infections. This rash is characterized by infant deaths. Antibiotics and corticosteroids are used to treat this condition.

Pruritic Folliculitis of Pregnancy

This is seen as a rash on the abdomen, arms, back and legs. It is of no risk to the baby and it clears out after delivery. The itching can be relieved using corticosteroids creams and it can be treated using ultraviolet light therapy.

For more information on treating skin problems while pregnant, you can watch the video:

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