Postpartum Hives – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Postpartum Hives - Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

New mothers are so focused on their babies that they forget about how important it is to care for themselves. Unfortunately, the hormonal changes experienced after delivery makes it much harder to do as you are most likely going to suffer some ailments as a result. Postpartum hives are one such problem.

What Are Postpartum Hives?

Allergens and hormonal changes after delivery result in a protein called Histamine being released into your bloodstream. This may result in your immune system reacting negatively, causing red and itchy skin on different parts of the body known as postpartum hives.

Is It Normal to Get Hives After Pregnancy?

Postpartum hives have been known to affect at least 20% of women after delivery. They tend to occur at different times after giving birth and usually appear on your arms, back and feet, though some women have also reported them occurring on their legs as well.

What Are the Causes of Postpartum Hives?

Here are some reasons why hives can sometimes appear:

  1. Insect bites or stings
  2. Hormonal changes after delivery
  3. Stress
  4. Medical conditions like acute thyroid conditions
  5. Exposure to intense sunlight, heat or very cold climates
  6. Environmental conditions either outside or inside the home
  7. Certain medications
  8. Certain foods or additives in the food.

Causes for postpartum hives

What Are the Symptoms of Post Pregnancy Hives?

Here are some postpartum hives symptoms to look out for:

  1. Scaly skin
  2. Itchy skin
  3. Swelling that results in pain or burning sensations
  4. Blanching of the skin, where areas of the skin become very pale or white
  5. Raised welts on the skin

Possible Complications of Post Delivery Hives

There are some cases where postpartum hives may lead to complications that could be life-threatening. They are as follows:

  1. A reaction called anaphylaxis that affects the whole body and that leads to having difficulty in breathing.
  2. Blockage in the airway due to the throat swelling.

How to Treat Hives After Childbirth

There is no exact cure for postpartum hives, but you can try out the below steps:

1. Drink Plenty of Fluids

Drink plenty of water and up your fluid intake.

2. Topical Applications

The burning and red patches can be soothed if you apply some cream or lotions. Consult your doctor about the most effective creams and lotions that you can use to get some relief.

3. Manage Stress

As stress is a factor that plays a role in causing hives, you should try to manage your stress levels as much as possible. Learn to meditate and try to rest as much as you can.

4. Get Help

If you can get help, this will allow you more time to rest and will, in turn, also give you more time to spend looking after your child and yourself.

5. Consult a Dermatologist

You can speak to a dermatologist about what medication is best and get a prescription for it.

Woman drinking water

4 Home Remedies You Can Try for Postpartum Hives

Here are some remedies you can try yourself at home that are natural and safe:

1. Oatmeal

With its anti-inflammatory properties, oatmeal can help soothe the skin and provide relief from all the itching and swelling caused by hives.

How to Use 

  • Take a microfibre cloth and put one cup of oatmeal in it.
  • Soak this in a bowl of hot water for about 15 minutes and then add it into your bathwater.
  • Soak your body in this bath for 15 minutes once every day. Make sure the temperature of the water isn’t too hot, as it can further irritate the skin.

Oatmeal for hives

2. Cold Compress

By shrinking the blood vessels, the histamine release can be prevented from increasing. The cold compress will also provide relief from inflammation, itching, and swelling.

How to Use

  • Use a towel or microfiber cloth to wrap some ice cubes and place it on the affected area
  • Try this for 3-4 times a day
  • Cold baths or showers are also recommended

Cold compress for hives

3. Aloe Vera Gel

Aloe Vera is incredibly effective for healing and improving skin conditions.

How to Use 

  • Fresh aloe vera gel should be applied on the affected parts of the skin and left on for about twenty minutes.
  • Rinse off with cool water.
  • This can be done several times a day.

Aloe vera gel for hives

4. Apple Cider Vinegar

Filled with anti-histamine properties, apple cider vinegar provides relief from the inflammation.

How to Use

Mix apple cider vinegar with water in equal amounts and with a cotton pad, clean the infected skin. Do this twice a day.

ACV for hives

How Long Do Postpartum Hives Last?

Though you are probably miserable that you have developed this condition rather than getting the chance to enjoy your baby properly, don’t worry. This condition generally resolves itself in about 6 to 8 weeks time. With proper care, it can take lesser than that as well.

Postnatal Hives And Breastfeeding

The one thing that concerns most mothers suffering from this condition is the kind of effect it could have on breastfeeding and the risks their babies may have to face after drinking their milk. Medications such as antihistamines containing loratadine and fexofenadine are considered safe, as studies reveal that the exposure breastfeeding infants have to these drugs is quite minimal and highly unlikely to result in any side effects, making them compatible with breastfeeding. At any rate, it’s best to go with any medication only if your doctor has approved of it.

While it may be convenient to ignore your skin issues, it is best that you look after yourself as well because you have a little baby who is completely dependent on you for everything. Consult with your doctor about any medication that you may want to take.

Also Read: Postpartum Anemia