Itching during Pregnancy: Causes and Treatment


Pregnancy is one of the major milestones in a woman’s life. During this period a woman goes through a lot of hormonal changes that change her body, and these changes sometimes are permanent. The women’s nutrition intake is also doubled because she needs to provide enough for the baby and herself. Although a lot of care is taking during this period, she can still face some issues related to pregnancy (1)

What can be the possible reasons for itching?

One of the possible reasons that could explain this is that there is increased blood flow at the time of pregnancy. Along with this, there are also hormonal changes that happen that can cause you to feel severe itching. Other than that another common reason could be because your skin stretches at this time causing it to crack, feel dry and itchy.

Although if the itching is severe and you can’t sleep properly or function properly throughout the day, then there could be an underlying reason for this. Itching can be a symptom of a condition in the body. These are the few conditions that you could probably have if you have severe itching (2).

PUPP (Pruritic Urticated Papules of Pregnancy)

This is an itchy rash that develops during pregnancy and usually subsides after 1-2 weeks post delivery. Doctors believe that this is possibly caused because your skin is stretched and it causes itching (3).

What are the treatments?

The common treatments are using enough moisturizer for your skin, some topical steroid ointments can also be prescribed.

Pemphigoid Gestationis

Is an autoimmune disorder that means it causes one’s body to act against its own tissue. It causes the epidermal layer to blister and you might see red bumps and rashes on your skin, usually starts from around the area of the belly button and slowly spreads across the entire body.

What are the treatments?

You will have to get a biopsy done to diagnose the condition. Usually, it goes away after pregnancy but to ease the intense itching they could give you topical or oral corticosteroids.

Obstetric Cholestasis

This commonly known as Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy. It causes severe itching and rashes on your skin that is bright red in color. Usually, these symptoms are visible from the 28th week of pregnancy. Although there’s no possible harm for the mother, it could complicate things for the baby. That’s why doctor opts for an emergency C-section from time to time. This usually happens when the bile fluid doesn’t flow from the liver to the gut, instead it begins to collect in your body (4).

What are the treatments?

The common treatments for this may be a calamine lotion to reduce the itching. You’ll be asked to take live function tests on a regular basis to monitor the condition. Vitamin K supplements can be given because this condition might hinder the absorption of Vitamin K in your body.

Impetigo Herpetiformis

This is a rare skin condition that happens during pregnancy. It could cause lesions on your skin that are red and itchy, and the bumps can also be filled with pus and fluid. It seems to be a type of Pustular Psoriasis, it’s, however, unclear if it’s caused due to pregnancy or it’s Pustular Psoriasis that is triggered by pregnancy (5)

What are the treatments?

There is usually a treatment plan that includes steroids, and antibiotics to keep the rashes at bay. In severe cases, medication such as corticosteroids could be given to keep the immune system suppressed.


Why does Pregnancy cause itching?

There is an increased blood flow and stretching that could cause itching during pregnancy.

How to relieve itching during pregnancy?

In severe cases you can give corticosteroid ointments, however regular moisturizing of the skin is said to be sufficient enough. Bio oil is also said to relieve itchiness from the skin during pregnancy.

Why does itching happen during the 9th month of pregnancy?

There is an increased blood flow and stretching that could cause itching during pregnancy.

What to do about itching during the 9th month of pregnancy?

Usually, the itching will stop post-delivery, although moisturizing your skin thoroughly is the only treatment for this.

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Dr Jisha Gomez

Dr Jisha Gomez

She is a highly skilled dermatology physician with strong expertise in improving skin & hair health through the development of corrective treatment combinations. She completed her Post-graduate Diploma in Dermatology from Cardiff, UK & Fellowship in Aesthetic Medicine (FAM) from the Institute of Laser and Aesthetic Medicine, Delhi with over 5+ years experience treating skin patients. She has worked in Government hospitals in Trivandrum and Bangalore. She is actively involved in creating awareness for healthy skin, breaking the social stigma based on skin colour & stopping steroid abuse in our country.
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