For the most part, my pregnancy was smooth sailing. I never had any nausea, no morning sickness, no sensitivities to any odors,…everything was great. It wasn’t until the last 2 months of my pregnancy that things started to get uncomfortable real quick. A rash and minor bumps had broken out around my belly, hips, and legs. It started out very mild and quickly escalated to unbearable over the next few weeks. I had to try hard not to focus so much on the itching while I was at work. I was tempted to use itch cream, but read that it has steroids in it, which can be bad for the baby. I decided to make an appointment for the doctor to see how it can be treated. It was so unbearable, I think it may have made me twitch at times during work! Luckily no one saw…at least I hope not. I had done a lot of reading online (I know, something people advise not to do when you’re worried about something), and read about a condition called Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP). It basically described everything I was going through. Still, I wanted to check with the doctor to make sure it wasn’t anything serious. What causes it? I’ve read it could be the extra hormones causing an “allergic reaction” . Another suggestion is that the stretching of the skin can trigger this reaction.
After the doctors visit, to my relief, she confirmed it was nothing serious and gave me the “okay” to use over the counter itch creams that had 1% hydrocortisone. I went to to The store and got Aveeno anti-itch cream. It helped for about 30 minutes, but the severe itching came back. Sometimes it was so bad, it would wake me up in the middle of the night. I had to start wearing dresses because my pants would rub against my belly, making it more irritated. I didn’t want to use too much of the anti itch cream, so I tried to look for more natural alternatives.
I found relief, finally, by doing a nightly routine that really helped with the severe itching. It didn’t go away completely, but at least it significantly reduced it. I could sleep better, I wasn’t sneaking in some scratches under the shirt at work when no one was looking, no more random twitching.
- Before bed, gently shower or wash affected area with oatmeal or an oatmeal based shower soap. I used Aveeno Daily Moisturizing body wash. Air dry or gently pat dry with a towel. Oatmeal helps calm the irritated skin by balancing the the skins PH level and adding moisture back to it.
- Wet a cotton pad with witch hazel (be sure it doesn’t contain alcohol in it) and pat it over the irritated areas. I used Thayers with aloe vera. Witch hazel helps calm the inflammation from the irritation and scratching.
- Rub some aloe vera over the skin to further heal the area.
- Once the aloe vera dries, gently rub on an oatmeal based lotion. I used Aveeno Daily Moisturizing lotion.
- Drink a cup of 100% cherry juice concentrate about an hour before bed (I like to dilute it a little with water). Cherry juice is packed with anthocyanins, which is a huge inflammatory reducer…not to mention it’s rich with antioxidants and nutrients. It also helps with sleep. I definitely slept better drinking a cup of cherry juice before bed. The brand I bought was Cheribundi.
- Wear loose clothing
- Try not to wear pants with the band part going around your waist and tummy area. It will irritate the belly. Some maternity pants should be okay, depending on the material. As long as the material that goes around your belly is not too tight or rough on the skin
- Don’t use lotions with too much fragrance in it
- I found flowy dresses and cotton underwear with soft or no bands were most comfortable.
If nothing else helps, maybe your doctor can prescribe a cream that will help. You’ll find many tips on the internet that will help with the itching. I found this routine to help me the best. I know it sounds like a daunting task to do every night, but it wasn’t bad at all. It only took me less than 5-7 minutes to do, since I kept all the items together, ready to use when I got out of the shower.