Itching during pregnancy is very common because of the increased blood circulation to the skin. As your pregnancy advances and as your baby matures, the skin of your abdomen is stretched and this may also feel prickly.
Itchy skin during pregnancy is normally nothing to worry about, but if the itching becomes serious it can be an indication of a serious liver condition called obstetric cholestasis (OC). This affects fewer than 1 in 100 pregnant women but needs medical intervention.
Obstetric Cholestasis is a liver condition that obstructs the flow of bile juice in the body during pregnancy. Bile salts generally flow from the liver to the gastrointestinal tract to aid in digestion. This can cause terrible itching all over the body, although for some women, itchiness during pregnancy can occur only on the hands and feet. Such body itching during pregnancy may aggregate at night time and is not typically accompanied by a rash.
Obstetric Cholestasis occurs mostly during the third trimester, although it can develop earlier. The good news is that it generally diminishes within a few days after child labor.
While Obstetric Cholestasis affects less than 1% of pregnant women, it is a potentially serious problem that needs to be monitored by your physician, particularly as it increases the risk of pregnancy complications.
An additional condition that may give rise to itching in pregnancy is Prurigo. This condition is characterized by tiny, itchy bumps on the skin which may be mistaken for insect bites.
Prurigo can occur at any point during pregnancy and may continue after birth. Many believe it is caused by changes in the immune system during pregnancy. Luckily, Prurigo poses no risk to your baby.
How to naturally prevent skin itchiness during Pregnancy?
If you experience mild itching during pregnancy, there are various natural steps you can take to reduce your symptoms.
- Regularly apply an unscented lotion.
- Wear clothing that is loose-fitting so it is less likely to irritate the skin.
- Try to wear clothing made of natural fibers, such as cotton, which are more breathable than the synthetic ones.
- You may also find calamine lotion useful in reducing the itching. Keep in mind, however, that the safety of using calamine lotion during pregnancy and breastfeeding is also unknown, so make sure to discuss with your physician before using it.
If natural remedies do not work, consult your treating physician for alternative medication what suits you the best and ensures the safety of your baby.