Itching in Pregnancy

What causes itching?

  • Increase in the blood circulating to the skin
  • Rapid growth and stretching of the skin, especially of the belly
  • Dehydration
  • Deficiency of essential oils in diet
  • Allergies, which can be worsened by pregnancy
  • Skin sensitivity to new creams (e.g. those used to prevent stretch marks)
  • In rare cases, liver problems resulting in a build-up of bile salts [Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy]
  • Infection (e.g. candida)
  • Any kind of stress (physically, emotionally, mentally) can worsen existing symptoms
  • Can occur anytime, but more likely in the 2nd & 3rd trimesters, especially if related to skin stretching and growth
  • If it is pregnancy related, it will go away after birth (usually within 48 hours but in rare cases weeks after the birth)

Sometimes symptoms can be minimized or eliminated with diet/lifestyle changes

  • Minimize stress
  • Hydration ––2-3L per day
  • Olive/almond/apricot oil (2-3 tablespoons in bath)
  • Flax seed oil (internally)
  • Omega 3-6-9 oil (e.g. Udo’s oil)
  • Homeopathic Apis
  • Milk thistle tincture
  • Dandelion root tincture
  • Light therapy (time in the sun)
  • Cold compresses, cool baths
  • Baking soda – in bath or applied as paste
  • Calamine lotion
  • Aloe vera gel (externally)
  • Oatmeal baths
  • Antihistamine
  • Cut nails really short to prevent damage from scratching
  • Hydrocortisone cream (needs prescription)
  • Oral steroid (needs prescription)

Please let your midwife know:

  • If you develop a rash
  • If your itching is on the souls of your feet and palms of your hands
  • If you have upper-right quadrant pain (i.e. pain in your liver area, under the right ribs)
  • If the itching is interfering with your life. Even if the cause is benign, you made need prescription topical or oral steroids to help cope