Skin diseases in pregnancy

During pregnancy, a person’s body undergoes a lot of physical changes. The skin is also affected during this time. Most of the issues are harmless and will go after giving birth.

Listing some of the commonly found skin problems in pregnancy

Striae gravidarum (Stretch marks)

This is very common in most women and appears around the tummy and breast area. The chances are more if your weight has increased rapidly. You may try to keep it in control by keeping skin moisturized using cocoa butter or lotion. Genetics is also another factor for its cause.

Hyper Pigmentation

Increased levels of hormones can cause pigmentation on the skin, freckles start to appear on areas around the nipples and belly. Some have a dark line formed along the center of their belly extending till the pubic area and is also known as linea nigra.

Hair and Nails

There may be an increase or decrease in the growth of hair. Nails usually grow faster.

Acne

The hormones can cause oil glands to secrete more oil which can increase breakouts.

Skin tags

These are small light-colored harmless growths found on skin mainly around skin folds like the neck or armpits. If you feel conscious about them, you may contact your doctor to remove them after pregnancy.

Mask of pregnancy also known as Melasma/Chloasma

Patches that are usually brown in color are found on parts of the face like the nose, forehead or cheeks. It is due to the presence of melanin and more commonly occurs in dark skinned women. This will fade away after delivery. Exposure to sunlight can increase it is always so better to wear sunscreen before going out.

Varicose and Spider veins

They are small patches of veins that are swollen and can be seen above skin. Usually, they appear blue or purple. They may be painful for some. Pressure from the uterus can decrease the blood flow which can cause varicose veins.

PUPPP -pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy

PUPPP is a very common pregnancy rash. They are small red bumps that start around the belly (where stretch marks begin to occur) and can spread to thighs, breasts and buttocks. It may be itchy.

Prurigo of pregnancy

Few bumps similar to insect bites start appearing that may keep increasing.

Other more serious skin issues that can come up during pregnancy are –

ICP – Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy

This is a liver condition that should never be ignored. It is caused due to high levels of pregnancy hormones and usually occurs in the third trimester causing itching on the palms and soles. This may also be accompanied by jaundice. There is a risk of preterm birth, do contact your doctor in case of any concern.

Pemphigoid gestationis

Blisters appear on the area around the tummy and then starts to spread to different parts. There is an increased risk of preterm birth.

Treatment

For some of the skin problems, the doctor may suggest antihistamines to help relieve the inflammation and itching. Few other steps include:

  • applying cool compress.
  • keep skin hydrated by applying moisturizers.
  • using lukewarm water when washing.
  • avoid soaps with harsh chemicals.
  • wear loose- fitting clothes mainly cotton.
  • in case of acne avoid picking the pimples and use a mild cleanser or face wash. Avoid using harsh cosmetics.
  • for varicose veins limit the duration of standing or sitting, exercise, keep your legs elevated when possible and drink lots of fluid.

Diagnosis

When you visit the doctor they will examine the rash and ask questions related to when you started experiencing it and other symptoms to identify the root cause. They may also suggest to take a blood test.
If you are concerned about your rash that has occurred during pregnancy or if you had any skin issues before pregnancy feel free to contact your doctor, and clear your doubts concerning them.
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