Hives (Urticaria) during Pregnancy: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Hives (Urticaria) During Pregnancy

Medically Reviewed By
Dr. Rashmi Sriram (Dermatologist)
View more Dermatologist Our Panel of Experts

During pregnancy, a woman’s body undergoes several physical changes. These changes may sometimes include skin changes too. Other than minor skin issues like dry skin, pimples, etc. some women might experience severe skin issues like hives or urticaria, which are generally caused by hormonal changes, stress, or even due to infections. It is, therefore, always a good idea to be aware of such ailments to prevent them or to treat them immediately. In this article, we have tried to provide as much information as possible about hives during pregnancy that you might find useful in preventing or treating the condition. Read on to know more.

What Are Pregnancy Hives?

Hives may occur at any stage of the pregnancy. Even if you have never had this skin condition in your life, you may have it while you are pregnant, just like pregnancy acne. Hives appear as pale red, raised bumps on the skin and they represent an allergic reaction to food, insect bites, medicine, chemicals etc. With the increase in hormones and changes that happen in your body, it is possible there is sensitivity to pathogens. Usually, pregnant women develop hives after the skin goes extremely dry and stretches as the foetus grows. However, there could be other reasons also for developing hives during pregnancy. Therefore, you must consult a medical practitioner at the sight of pale red, raised bumps on the body.

Are Hives Dangerous In Pregnancy?

Luckily, not all cases of hives are a serious threat to the would-be-mother or her unborn baby. It is, however, few cases may end up with serious complications. Therefore, you should get yourself checked by a doctor to rule out any complications as soon as you notice any symptoms, especially around your genitals (including a rash). Pregnant women can also develop hives as an allergic reaction, which could also cause serious complications like anaphylaxis. Other symptoms of hives may include tightness in the throat, difficulty in swallowing, wheezing, extreme shortness of breath, dizziness, etc.  We shall discuss the symptoms a little more in detail in the article below.

Now that you know what hives are and if they can be dangerous during pregnancy, let’s look at some of its causes.


Causes of Hives During Pregnancy

While some causes of hives are difficult to establish, some common ones are as follows:

  • Insect bites. 
  • Consumption of food items that cause hives as an allergic reaction
  • Coming in contact with insect and animal dander. 
  • Pollen or exposure to certain chemicals that cause hives.  
  • Taking certain medicines during pregnancy may cause hives as a side effect. 
  • Pregnancy leads to weight gain, and when you put on weight, your skin stretches and loses its moisture. The lose of skin moisture causes severe dryness and lead to itching, and in some cases, hives also.
  • In some cases, anxiety and stress may also cause hives during pregnancy.
  • Low immunity during pregnancy makes you more prone to allergies and infections; thus increasing your chances of developing hives. 

During pregnancy, you must know the symptoms of this skin condition to get immediate medical attention. Here’s what you should look for when you suspect you have hives during pregnancy.

Symptoms of Pregnancy Hives

How will you establish that you have hives during pregnancy? Here, we have some common signs and symptoms of hives that will help identify the condition and seek medical help immediately:

  • You will notice raised wheals on different parts of your body. These weals can be extremely uncomfortable and painful. 
  • You may experience itching on the breasts, thighs, buttocks and tummy. These are the areas where pregnancy weight accumulates, thus stretching the skin and causing hives. 
  • You may experience extreme skin dryness around your tummy, buttocks and thighs. 
  • You will notice welts in small groups or across your body. These weals could keep changing places too. However, in most cases, welts are observed around the legs, arms and back.  


Now, let’s check out the treatment of this condition.

Treatment for Urticaria During Pregnancy

There are many over-the-counter medications available for treating hives. However, it is recommended to abstain from self-medication during pregnancy. You may, however, try some home remedial measures to reduce the discomfort and soothe the skin safely. Whatever the case may be, you should seek your doctor’s consent for the same. Here are some treatment options for urticaria or hives during pregnancy:

  1. A sure-shot remedy to treat hives is to moisturise your skin. You can use a good moisturising lotion to nourish your dry and itchy skin.
  2. Drying agents, such as harsh soaps can aggravate the symptoms of hives; therefore refrain from using harsh chemical-based soap. You may use mild moisturising bars that will help you keep your skin soft and moist. 
  3. You can use oatmeal to provide relief against itching and dryness. 
  4. Your doctor may prescribe ointments and oral medicines to help relieve the symptoms of hives. 

We know you would agree when we say prevention is better than cure. Why wait for conditions like these to appear when you can prevent them in the first place? Read on to know how you can prevent hives.

How to Prevent Hives

There is no need to be scared of this skin condition because proper care and preventive methods can help you keep hives at bay. Here are a few ways you can prevent the outbreak of this skin condition during pregnancy:

  • Refrain from wearing tight-fitted clothes during pregnancy, as they may cause skin irritation. You should wear loose cotton clothes that let your skin breathe and ensure utmost comfort. 
  • Refrain from using harsh chemical-based products that may cause dry or irritate your skin and lead to hives.
  • Do not take hot baths/showers during pregnancy. These will not only deprive your skin of its moisture, but they are also unsafe for your baby. Take warm water baths and moisturise your skin well after each bath. 
  • Adopt various relaxation techniques to soothe your mind and body because hives are sometimes caused due to anxiety and stress. Prenatal meditation and yoga can be pretty helpful during pregnancy. 


Things to Remember When You Have Hives During Pregnancy

At times, the outbreak of hives cannot be prevented during pregnancy. When you see the symptoms, you must immediately consult a doctor to prevent the welts from growing or spreading to other parts of the body. And, while you are treating it according to the doctor’s instructions, you may want to follow these simple steps to heal faster or at least feel better.

  • In case you feel the urge to itch, refrain from doing so because scratching may further aggravate the itching. 
  • You may ask your doctor to know if it is safe for you to use calamine lotion on the rashes. 
  • Manage stress.
  • Keep yourself hydrated. 
  • Eat foods that nourish the skin. 
  • Avoid all the foods that you are allergic to. 
  • Keep our house clean. Vacuum as often as possible.

Although you cannot eliminate the chances of getting hives during pregnancy, proper care and precaution may surely help you deal with it. Ensure you do not stress about it because it is quite normal to get hives during pregnancy. Speak to your doctor if you need more clarity of this skin issue, and you should be able to manage it or keep it away all through the pregnancy term.


Also ReadSkin Changes during Pregnancy

Previous article «
Next article »