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Pregnant. Itchy red rashes appeared on back. What should be done?

Mar 2013
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I'm 20 weeks pregnant. Suddenly i am suffering with some skin problems like red red rashes mainly on back. which are very itching every time.
Posted Sat, 2 Mar 2013 in Women's Health
Answered by Dr. Aarti Abraham 45 minutes later
Thank you for your query.

There are a number of different rashes that can develop on a woman's body during pregnancy. The hormonal changes that the body goes through are often to blame for these conditions. The rashes can range from ones that are itchy and annoying, but not serious, to conditions that are potentially life-threatening to the baby. There is often no cure for these rashes. They resolve once the baby is delivered and the body gets back to normal. However you need to consult your gynecologist and a dermatologist, if advised, to arrive at the proper diagnosis and treatment accordingly.

A pregnant woman may find herself feeling warmer as she gets further into her pregnancy, especially during the summer months. Heat rash and friction rash are common conditions that cause discomfort during pregnancies. To combat the problem, wear loose and lightweight clothing. Stay inside or in the shade and bathe regularly.

Moreover, you might be experiencing allergy to certain medications which you are taking. Try stopping all medications for a week to see if this is indeed the case.

Certain conditions however are peculiar to pregnancy, and am briefly describing them for you :

PUPPP stands for Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy. This is an extremely itchy rash that first develops on the abdomen and spreads from there. It becomes a red, raised rash that can cover the abdomen, buttocks and thighs and can spread to the arms and legs. It normally doesn't appear on the patient's face. PUPPP doesn't pose any risk to the baby. Antihistamines and corticosteroid creams are the most common treatments. PUPPP is the most common pregnancy rash.

Prurigo of pregnancy shows up as itchy pink or red bumps on the arms and legs and sometimes other body parts. Corticosteroid creams and antihistamines help control the itching.

bile fluids in the mother's system, when the liver slows down due to pregnancy hormones. It carries a risk of premature birth and even death of the baby unless diagnosed and treated early .Medicines that reduce the amount of bile in the mother's system will be prescribed, along with anti-itch creams for the rash itself.

Pemphigoid gestationis is an autoimmune condition, that is rare, and that shows up as round patches on the abdomen initially. It usually spreads from there, but typically doesn't affect the mother's face, scalp or neck. Severe cases of this rash require oral corticosteroids to help manage the symptoms. It carries a risk of premature delivery and low birth weight for the baby, and sometimes the baby will have lesions from the condition when he is born.

Impetigo Herpetiformis is a rare condition that shows up in the second half of pregnancy. The lesions from the rash can break open and release pus, and then the open sores can lead to secondary infections after impetigo. There are increased instances of infant mortality associated with this rash. Aggressive treatment with systemic corticosteroids and antibiotics is required. Impetigo herpetiformis goes away after delivery.

Pruritic Folliculitis of Pregnancy presents as a rash on the abdomen, back, arms and legs. It poses no risk to the baby, and it resolves soon after the baby is born. Corticosteroid creams can help relieve the itching, and doctors have had success in treating it with ultraviolet light therapy as well.

As you can see, there is a big list of possible conditions that can be correctly narrowed down only by examination and adequate tests. So please consult your doctor at the earliest.

Maintain a healthy, nutritious diet .
Drinking lots of water will keep your skin hydrated and healthy.
Look for the words "noncomedogenic" and "unscented" when you're buying makeup and skin-care products. "Oil free" will be less likely to add excess oils and clog up pores — good if your skin is on the oilier side to begin with. But if your skin is dry, you'll do best to choose moisturizing products.
If you see a dermatologist, always tell him or her that you're expecting. Some drugs commonly used to treat skin disorders are contraindicated in pregnancy.
Taking too many baths can strip your skin of its moisture. Stick to short showers in warm (not hot) water, and use a mild soapless cleanser.

Take care, and please feel free to ask for further clarifications.

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