One of the most common symptoms faced by women during pregnancy is itching. Generally, the question comes in mind that whether or not the itching during pregnancy is normal. The answer is yes. In the majority of the cases, experiencing mild sensations of itching while being pregnant is normal. As seen in statistics, the itching associated with pregnancy is also common, and one out of five women has experienced such symptoms. It is to note that the whole body does not feel itchy at once. Generally, the part of the belly across the navel and the part of the breasts across the nipples tend to be itchier than the other places.
This happens mainly due to the increase in the size in the places like belly and breasts, which results in a mild stretching of the skin, resulting in an itching sensation. Additionally, women who have dry skin may feel itches more quickly than others. The changes in the hormonal distribution in the body of a woman during pregnancy can also lead up to this itching sensation.
Various skin conditions can lead up to the sensation of itching as well. When a woman is pregnant, these skin conditions have been seen to behave differently than usual. Their intensities may either increase or decrease, depending upon the circumstances. One of the common conditions is eczema. The sensation of itching has been reported to be different in different pregnant women. Some have said that eczema has dramatically improved during their pregnancy. Others have reported the exact opposite. Another of the itchy skin conditions is psoriasis. In this condition, the majority of pregnant women have said that the symptoms of psoriasis have gone down. The other section of pregnant women has found the conditions to be even worse than before.
Other symptoms have also been reported by several women, which can be indications of many severe medical conditions. Some of these symptoms include the formation of an itchy rash, generally located in the soles or the palms of the feet. If such symptoms are found in a pregnant woman, immediate contact with the healthcare providers should be made as it can lead to something serious. It is always better to get medical care as fast as possible in such situations.
Itching During Pregnancy – How Can One Get Relief from It?
One of the most common questions asked by a pregnant woman is how to get relief from itching during pregnancy. There are various ways. As a primary step, one should avoid scratching the skin where it is itching. It may be tough to tempt the sensation of itching, especially when the itching is felt in the belly or breasts. However, one must try their best to try to resist it. This is because the scratching of these places can further irritate the skin.
Continuous and prolonged irritation on these skin parts can even cause infections in some cases. In case you are suffering from an itching sensation due to the stretching or dryness of the skin, you can try various remedies. Some of the itching during pregnancy home remedies are-
- Application Of Coldness In The Area – Applying coldness in the itching area can be beneficial. Wet and cold compresses can be used in the skin to get some relief from the itching sensation. If the itching persists, the application of ice packs in the areas is also beneficial. Merely five minutes or ten minutes of use of an ice pack in the itchy areas can give relief from the itching sensation.
- Moisturizing The Area – Moisturizing of the area can be done to get some relief from itching. Different moisturizing agents such as cream, oil, and lotions can be used in the itchy skin after taking a bath or shower. To properly get the full relief action of the moisturizer, the creams can be pre-cooled by keeping them in the fridge for some time before the application on the skin. This way, both the cooling effect and the moisturizing effect will take place.
- Taking Warm Oatmeal Baths – In any drugstore, the oatmeal baths which are prepared commercially can be purchased. These oatmeal baths can be made in warm water occasionally to get good relief from the itching sensation.
Itching During Pregnancy – How Can One Prevent It?
It may not be possible to be able to prevent the itching sensation of the skin thoroughly. So, how to treat itching during pregnancy? How can one cope with the itching feeling? The answer is simple. Even though complete curing of itching felt by pregnant women is not possible, one can try to minimize the sensation of itching as much as possible. Given below are few tips to help a pregnant woman to do so-
- Taking Hot Baths And Lukewarm Showers – Warm baths and showers in a mild temperature can be pleasant to the itching sensation felt by pregnant women. However, it is advised to use mild warm water. If hot water is used, the chances of the skin becoming drier and increasing the itching sensation are always there. Therefore, just mild-warm water should be applied. Soap and body wash can be used as this will keep the skin clean. Towel and wiping off on the skin should also be done gently.
- Staying In Cool Places – It is advised to stay in cool places as much as possible. Going out in direct sunlight or a very heated atmosphere can result in a lot of sweating and irritation of the skin. This, in turn, can cause the skin to be itchier than before. Therefore, staying in cool places and cold conditions is advised.
- Wearing Comfortable Clothes – A pregnant woman should be comfortable in everything she does. One of them is wearing clothes. With the itching sensations, tight clothing can irritate the skin further. Therefore, soft, smooth, and loose clothing should be worn to provide as much relief to the skin as possible.
- Medication Before Moisturizing – Pregnant women often tends to moisturize their skin to minimize the itching sensation. However, some lotions may prove to be reacting with sensitive skins as different women have different types of skins. A pregnant woman is already under some medication. Therefore, medical providers should be consulted before applying moisturizing lotions. With the correct prescribed medicines, a pregnant woman can avoid any complications that may or may not occur by using moisturizers.
- Lowering The Stress Levels – In any case, anxiety and higher stress levels can make the conditions of itching even worse. Therefore, reducing the stress for a pregnant woman is required to avoid the itching sensation as much as possible.
Itching During Pregnancy – When Should One Call Their Healthcare Provider?
A pregnant woman is advised to call her healthcare provider when-
- A new rash is developed during the time of pregnancy
- Any worsening of an already existing skin conditions
- The itching sensation becomes too intense
Physical exams will be required to diagnose the problem or medical condition which exists, if present. Only after recognizing the question, can a proper treatment method is applied. In severe cases, patients are suggested to go and seek the services of a dermatologist.
Since a pregnant woman needs to take care of her health as well as the health of her baby, no risks should be taken. Certain intense itching conditions can not only harm the skin of the mother but can affect the baby as well. Intense monitoring needs to be done in such cases. Therefore any severe itchy symptoms should not be neglected or ignored.
Even though mild rash and itching are normal during pregnancy, and they do not cause any harm to the body, they should not be ignored entirely. In terms of intense itching sensations, medical conditions such as cholestasis may have occurred, which needs immediate medical treatment.
Detailed Treatment Methods
Pregnant women have often experienced itchiness during pregnancy. Itchiness on mild concentrations is supposed to be normal and harmless. However, even the sensation of itching experienced by pregnant women can sometimes be tough to deal with. In the times of pregnancy, a woman undergoes a lot of hormonal changes in the body. In such situations, even the slightest disturbances can drive the women mad. The urge to scratch the itchy skin is always there. Therefore, the concentration may always get disrupted, and day to day workings can get affected as well.
It is something any pregnant woman would like to avoid. Some women are even confused about why this sensation of itchiness comes in the first place. As stated beforehand, in the time of pregnancy, a lot of hormonal changes can take place. The skin gets tight and stretches in many places, and due to this reason, the sensation of itchiness comes. Women tend to look for how to get relief from itching during pregnancy. Even though the complete cure is not possible, but the intensity and frequency can be decreased down to quite a bit.
Given below are seven ways as to how to treat itching during pregnancy and what the best possible ways to do so are-
1. Moisturizing the Skin to Get Relief from Itchiness All Day
The skin needs to be moisture regularly. Even if you are not pregnant, you can regularly take steps to keep your skin moisturized. By doing so, the elasticity of the skin is maintained, and the skin also remains healthy, even in rough conditions. The most crucial aspect of moisturizing the skin is that it helps to keep the overall comfort level of the skin. In such cases, patients can not only cope with the itching sensation but also cope against fatigue and body pains.
There are various types of lotions and moisturizing creams that can be applied to keep the skin healthy and soft. In the case of pregnant women, it is advised to start using moisturizing lotions as extensively as possible. Even in cases where pregnant women do not face the sensation of itchiness, it is recommended to keep on moisturizing creams as well. As prevention is always better than cure, preventing itchiness of the skin is way easier than treating already itchy skin.
When it comes to moisturizing lotion, various natural ingredients can be used. Some of them are-
- Coconut Oil – Using coconut oil is an excellent option for moisturizing. The skin hydration is significantly improved as the coconut oil reaches almost every dry part of the skin layers when appropriately applied. Since coconut oil is also antimicrobial by nature, irritation of the skin and inflammation are drastically reduced. Thus, itchy skins get very effectively treated by coconut oils.
- Aloe Vera Gel – The use of aloe vera gel as a moisturizing agent is also beneficial when it comes to treating itchiness of the skin. To get the aloe vera gel, one can obtain a plant of aloe vera and take a leaf. Cutting the leaf on the sides can produce the aloe vera gel, which can be stored for future use in a container or can be directly used. When applied directly on the skin, the hydrating properties of aloe vera gel are so good that the effects can be noticed very rapidly. The itchiness will be soothed, and the softness of the skin will increase as well.
2. Warm Water Should Be Used For Washing Instead Of Hot Water
When it comes to the removal of contamination and dirt from the skin, hot water is a great option. However, in the case of a pregnant woman, the usage of hot water should be avoided. This is because hot water can make the skin dry faster as well. This, in turn, can cause the skin to get irritated and produce the itchy sensation. Blood circulation may also get irregular in the body with the usage of hot water used in baths. This can affect blood circulation to the baby.
The best alternative of hot water to be used at this point is mildly warm water. The temperature should not be too high, but it should be slightly higher than the room temperature as well. 98.6℉ is an optimal temperature of warm water which can be used. The benefits of using warm water over hot water are that warm water is equally effective in cleansing purposes. It also does not pose any further complications of its reaction to blood circulation or skin irritation. Steam baths should be avoided in the pregnancy period. To be sure, pregnant women are advised to measure the temperature of the water before using a thermometer.
With mild-warm water being used in baths, pregnant women can also use nutritional bath oil that can nourish the skin to keep it supple and smooth. One precautionary measure that needs to be taken here is that with the usage of oils, the chances of slipping increases. Therefore, a pregnant woman needs to be extra careful during movement in the bathroom.
There are various itching during pregnancy home remedies that can be used to deal with the itchy sensation effectively. Some of the ingredients that can be used are given below-
- Using Baking Soda Paste – One of the best remedies to treat the itchiness of the skin is to use baking soda paste. It can be made easily at home by merely mixing baking soda with water. This mixture forms a paste which can then be applied to all the itchy parts of the skin. The most significant advantage of using baking soda paste is that it will restore the pH balance of the skin. This, in turn, can keep the skin healthy. A layer is formed on the surface of the skin, which acts as a protective layer against allergens and bacteria. Additionally, the redness, swelling, or irritation of the skin is also treated, all while keeping the skin hydrated. Thus, pregnant women can manage their itchiness with the baking soda paste quite effectively.
- Using Oatmeal Bath – Another option that can be used to treat itching during pregnancy is to use oatmeal baths. Oatmeal acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and will help in reducing the inflammation of the skin. Additionally, it has excellent properties as a moisturizing agent. The skin becomes soft and stays hydrated. Pregnant women can easily use oatmeal in their warm baths by merely adding one cup of oatmeal in the bathwater.
If the intensity of the itching is higher than usual, one can also use both baking soda paste and oatmeal in their warm water baths. The sensation of itchiness should be practically gone upon such combined usage.
3. The Prevention of Stretch Marks can do treatment Of Itching during Pregnancy
Reports have shown that prevention of stretch marks can reduce the sensation of itchiness in pregnant women by a great deal. This is mainly because the prevention of stretch marks means also taking care of the skin. Therefore, while preventing stretch marks, the skin already gets an ample amount of moisture and remains soft and supple. The elasticity of the skin is thus maintained, which is a significant factor to prevent itchiness.
There are various stretch marks prevention creams available in the market. Since pregnant women tend to face itchiness more in the regions of belly and breasts, applying such creams in the required places can help a lot. The stretch marks prevention creams act as a moisturizer, provides protection to the screen surfaces and heals the dry skin as well. There are serums available for the prevention of stretch marks, as well. These serums can be used even during the post-pregnancy period to help the body adjust better and faster to the changes. Such serums are compatible with breastfeeding and are thus entirely safe to use.
4. Using Moisturizing Shower Gels
Using lotions in warm baths can be beneficial for pregnant women to deal with the itching. To increase the effectiveness, even more, moisturizing shower gels can be used in baths. Such gels will ensure that the skin will be soft and hydrated even while you are bathing.
It is, however, recommended that gentle shower gels should be used instead of harsh and strong cleansers. Since the main aim is not to provide any additional irritation to the skin, strong chemical agents should be strictly avoided. Bath accessories such as scrubs and loofahs should also be skipped in this period. They are handy for cleaning but too harsh on the skin cells. As a result, the skin can become dry and itchy quickly. That way, all the efforts of keeping the skin soft and hydrated will be in vain.
Soft moisture gels and regular cleaning of the body during bathing is the ideal measure while tackling with itching during pregnancy.
5. Drying Of the Skin Should Be Done By Gentle Patting
The skin must be treated gently to avoid the sensation of itchiness as much as possible. Vigorous or strong rubbing of the skin should be avoided. With the pregnancy period progressing, the skin tends to be even more delicate. So, extra care should be taken to prevent any irritation of the skin.
After taking a warm bath, one should be careful about drying them off. To avoid any skin irritation, rubbing the body with towels should be avoided. One should try to dry off with patting gently with the towel instead. This way, the skin will not be stretched or pulled, and the excess water can be removed as well. With patting the body, pregnant women can also treat it as a body massage and can feel more relaxed.
6. Using a Cold Compress for Relief
To get a cooling and numbing feel, one can use a cold compress. Not only does it help in the relief of the itchy sensation, but it can also help in keeping the skin dry. Another advantage of using a cold compress on the skin is that it can help in reducing the inflammation, redness, or swelling of the skin.
This method is one of the perfect treatment methods for treating itching during pregnancy. The simple application of a cold compress on the itchy areas for about five to ten minutes can help in getting instant relief while dealing with the itching sensation.
7. Avoiding Daily Stress
Stresses can negatively impact the body in any circumstances. As for pregnant women, the effect is even more visible, with stress directly contributing to itching during pregnancy. Additionally, stress can also affect the skin with inflammation, the formation of dry skin, and breakouts. Therefore, stress should be avoided.
To avoid stress, one can decrease their workload in this period. Light exercises, meditations, and doing the things you love can help you with reducing stress levels as well. Read your favorite book, watch a movie, listen to good music, and find yourself activities that keep you happy. Stress will get automatically decreased under such circumstances.
With following all of the techniques mentioned above, you can easily take care of the itching sensation. In pregnancy, you will be likely to go through with a lot of things. Having an itching irritation adds to the list. Thus, following the proper methods to decrease the intensity of the itching as much as possible should be tried. Also, in case the itching sensations are intense, and the urge cannot be controlled, visit a doctor immediately to get proper treatment.