What is prurigo of pregnancy?
Prurigo of pregnancy is an itchy rash that may develop during pregnancy. It is one of a group of itchy rashes called ‘atopic eruption of pregnancy’.
The other common type of atopic eruption of pregnancy is eczema in pregnancy. This causes a rough red rash on your face, neck or elbow or knee creases.
What causes prurigo of pregnancy?
Some women who have prurigo of pregnancy have had eczema in the past, but some have never had eczema. Your chance of developing prurigo is higher if you have family members with eczema, asthma or hay fever. The changes in your immune system during pregnancy can trigger it.
Will prurigo affect my pregnancy?
If you have prurigo of pregnancy, you don’t need to be worried about it. It’s uncomfortable for you, but it won’t cause any pregnancy problems.
How is prurigo of pregnancy treated?
Because prurigo of pregnancy is not harmful, the aim of treatment is to relieve your symptoms so that you don’t feel itchy. Try to stay cool, wear clothing made from soft fabrics and avoid things that can irritate your skin, such as soap. Don’t shower more than once a day, because this can irritate your skin.
Treatments that can help relieve itching include:
- having a bath with oatmeal added to the water
- calamine lotion
- steroid creams
- antihistamine tablets
Whenever you use a medicine, cream or lotion, check the list of ingredients to make sure it’s safe to use during pregnancy. If you’re not sure,ask your pharmacist. Most non-prescription skin care products are safe, but it’s important to avoid certain ingredients while you’re pregnant, such as vitamin A (also called retinol).
If you want to use a medicine such as a steroid cream or antihistamine, ask your doctor or pharmacist which ones are safe to use in pregnancy.
If you’ve tried these treatments and you still feel itchy, talk to your doctor as there are other treatments that can help such as steroid tablets or phototherapy.
Will prurigo of pregnancy affect my baby?
Prurigo of pregnancy is not harmful to your baby. If you have prurigo, your baby may have a greater chance of developing eczema, asthma or hay fever in future.
When should I see my doctor about prurigo of pregnancy?
See your doctor straight away if you feel itchy during pregnancy. Even though prurigo of pregnancy is not harmful, there are other itchy conditions that can be harmful to your baby such as intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy. It’s important to make sure that you don’t have one of these conditions.
If you have been diagnosed with prurigo of pregnancy, see your doctor if it doesn’t feel better with treatment since they can prescribe stronger treatments.
Will I still have prurigo after I've had my baby?
Prurigo will get better after your baby is born. It can take a few weeks or months to go away.
Will I have prurigo in future pregnancies?
You might develop prurigo again in future pregnancies, but this doesn’t happen to everyone.
Speak to a maternal child health nurse
Call Pregnancy, Birth and Baby to speak to a maternal child health nurse on 1800 882 436 or video call. Available 7am to midnight (AET), 7 days a week.
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Last reviewed: November 2022