Psoriasis in Pregnancy – Symptoms, Risks, and Treatment
Psoriasis is a skin condition that leads to the formation of redness on the skin, along with patches and scaling. Many woman who suffer from this disease contemplate the fact of whether psoriasis would affect their pregnancy in any way. As physicians recommend not to consider any treatment when pregnant, it becomes difficult to understand exactly what to do. Read on further to know all about psoriasis and its relation to pregnancy.
What Is Psoriasis?
Psoriasis is a skin condition that causes abnormal patches on the skin. Such patches are characterised by red, scaly marks on the skin that may be accompanied by itching. This disease is a kind of an auto-immune one, i.e. it is a condition that arises due to an abnormal response of the body’s immunity system when it gets activated by antigens.
The patches associated with psoriasis may vary from tiny patches to complete body coverage, depending on the severity of the disease. Some areas that get affected by this rare disease include the skin, scalp, elbows and the knee area. Generally, psoriasis is considered as a long-lasting disease that is non-contagious in nature. Although it is found to be a non-curable one, but treatments have been found that may help reduce the abnormal scaling to an extent.
Symptoms of Psoriasis
The underlying symptoms of psoriasis are observed to vary on the basis of severity of the problem. However, some of the common symptoms that one may notice, include:
- Dryness: When your skin appears to be extremely dry, psoriasis may be the reason. Also, you may notice that your super sensitivity, in turn, may lead to easy bleeding even on minor scratches.
- Abnormal Nails: If your nails turn to become thick, rutted or corrugated, consult a physician as it could be due to psoriasis.
- Patching and Scaling: If your skin starts developing red patches along with silvery scaling, be sure of psoriasis.
- Burning Sensations: If the area with red patches starts to give you burning sensations, do not hesitate to consult a doctor.
- Itching: If you can’t stop itching on the red and scaly patches, psoriasis could be the disease you may be suffering from.
- Swelling or Stiffness: In case along with all other symptoms you also get a swelling in the joints that leads to stiffness, seek medical help immediately.
Can Pregnancy Affect Psoriasis?
While a woman is pregnant, she is likely to show improvement in psoriasis. There are fair 40-60% chances that a woman would recover, if not fully, partially from psoriasis during her pregnancy. The fact to be noted here is that maximum improvement in psoriasis is shown at the end of first and the second trimester of pregnancy.
Also, one must not ignore the fact that in some rare cases, pregnancy may alleviate the issue to a larger scale, which may bring severe psoriasis and pregnancy complications.
Can Psoriasis Affect Pregnancy?
One should note the fact that psoriasis does not in any sense affect the ability of a woman to bear children. So far, no cases of miscarriages have been registered due to the occurrence of psoriasis. Also, there have been noted no birth defects in children just because the mother is suffering from this rare condition. However, a study has found that women with severe psoriasis have given birth to babies with lower weights as compared to the normal or mild cases.
How to Treat Psoriasis When Pregnant
Psoriasis may become difficult to handle in case of pregnancy. Especially when you need to visit your gynaecologist and lay bare your body, it may turn embarrassing. Generally, it is recommended not to continue any psoriasis medication when pregnant, but if you wish to treat this condition, you could consider the following:
- Apply moisturisers or emollients on your skin, as recommended by your physician. Likewise, you can also opt for petroleum jelly that not only helps soothe the skin but also helps moisten the dry skin.
- A physician may also recommend that you use a topical steroid, i.e. a special cream for reducing skin inflammations. But, a pregnant woman should be very careful while applying it near the breast area. This is because some pregnant women start producing breast milk while on pregnancy; applying of these topical steroids may lead to mixing it with breast milk, and that is not at all an ideal situation.
- In some rare cases where pregnant women may be suffering from severe form of psoriasis, ointments or topical may not be helpful. In such cases, a physician may end up implementing narrow-band UVB, i.e. Ultraviolet Light B photo therapy on the patient.
- Or, alternatively depending on how severe the condition is, your physician may also implement a broad-band UVB, i.e. Ultraviolet Light B photo therapy.
Tips to Soothe Psoriasis at Home
Though it is highly recommended to consult your doctor if you are pregnant and suffering from psoriasis, you can follow simple home remedies for soothing your red, scaly and patchy skin:
- Keep your body moisturised. This is the simplest solution for treating skin drying and itching. You could also ask your skin specialist to recommend you a good moisturiser that could effectively work on your skin type.
- Do not exert yourself much as the accumulation of sweat around the psoriasis area can lead to more of irritation and itching.
- Avoid taking hot water showers, as hot water can only worsen the condition.
- Apply aloe vera gel on the psoriasis affected area, at least 2-3 times a day. This helps lessen red patches and the associated scaling to an extent.
Can the Baby Be Affected or Get Psoriasis?
Looking at the history of genetics and hereditary, it can be said that a baby may develop psoriasis. But it all depends on case to case. In some situations, the baby may develop psoriasis, and in some cases, the baby may go unaffected. But the fetus is likely to develop the disease in case a woman is taking medications for psoriasis during her pregnancy. This is the reason that most of the physicians do not recommend relying on medications when pregnant.
In some cases, babies have been found to be affected by psoriasis due to breastfeeding, as this disease sometimes leads to the formation of bleeding ulcers on the surface of the breast nipples.
Also, one should note the fact that a baby may not simply get a hold on psoriasis just post delivery. The born child may even develop this disease later in life.
Psoriasis is a skin condition, about which pregnant women do not need to worry themselves too much. All depends from person to person or from case to case. However, a woman should always consult her gynaecologist and skin specialist before relying on any medication when pregnant.