Scabies during Pregnancy: Reasons, Signs, Diagnosis & Treatment

Scabies During Pregnancy – Causes and Treatment

Different women can have completely different experiences during pregnancy. Some women have a reasonably smooth pregnancy, while others can have health ailments and other issues. Developing a skin condition can be terrifying for a pregnant woman, but skin troubles can be easily treated. Scabies is one such condition. It is caused by an infestation of mites on the surface of the skin. Scabies during pregnancy can be seen when rashes and itching occur in places like the armpits, inner wrists, back of knees and finger webs. It is quite a miserable condition for a pregnant lady to go through, and if left untreated, it can cause health complications. It is best to treat scabies before it spreads.

What Is Scabies?

Scabies is caused by creatures known as mites that burrow and dig tunnels under the skin’s surface. You will get scabies when the female mite digs under your skin’s surface and lays eggs. They die after a month, but the eggs will hatch, and new mites will grow who will then reproduce. Their life cycle is only about 2-3 weeks. There are different types of scabies that can develop based on the mode of transmission – contact with the skin of an infected person, through sexual intercourse, or in rare cases, contact with towels or linen of someone who has scabies.

What Causes Scabies?

Mites are common in crowded places like camps, classrooms, college dorms, and childcare centres where they move from skin to skin. The most common way to get scabies is from someone who already has them. Exposure to scabies during pregnancy does not harm the foetus in any way, but it still has to be treated quickly so that the mother can rest at ease.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Scabies?

After initial exposure to scabies, it can take up to 6 weeks for the following symptoms to appear.

  • Intense itching and a rash that gets worse at night.
  • The rash will resemble pimples or blisters – raised bumps filled with fluid.
  • Grey lines on your skin along with red bumps.
  • Red, scaly patches on your skin.
  • Itching on the skin surrounding your hands and feet.

Can Scabies Affect a Pregnant Woman and Her Baby?

Many pregnant women may wonder if scabies can be harmful during pregnancy or if it can harm the baby. The good news is that scabies will have no effect on the foetus in any way. The link between scabies and pregnancy risk is small, but the options for scabies treatment may get limited as the medications a woman can take while she is pregnant are limited. However, there are natural ways to treat scabies if you want to avoid medical treatment.

How Is Scabies Diagnosed?

The doctor will first look for signs of scabies on your skin. Following that, he will do some tests like taking your skin scrapings from the rash or and examining it to look for the mites. He can also perform a skin biopsy to check for the presence of mites.

Medical Treatment for Scabies During Pregnancy

There are ways for scabies treatment while pregnant by using certain medications. These are:

  • Prescription of medicated creams like permethrin 5% or benzyl benzoate to treat scabies infections.
  • The creams should be applied all over the body. Since scabies is a contact infection, the whole family and the partner of the infected person should also be treated. Creams may be used one-time or repeated after a week.
  • For severe cases, some doctors can also prescribe oral medication to kill the mites.

Are Medical Treatments Used for Curing Scabies Safe for Pregnant Women?

Yes, topical creams like permethrin 5%, crotamiton, benzyl benzoate 25%, and malathion 0.5% are all safe to use during pregnancy. However, two medications you should never take during pregnancy are ivermectin and lindane as they can cause undesirable side effects.

Natural Remedies to Treat Scabies During Pregnancy

If you are pregnant and want to avoid resorting to medical treatment for scabies, you can opt for the many home remedies for scabies that are safe during pregnancy. Some of them are:

1. Neem Oil

Just mix some neem oil with turmeric powder and make a paste. Apply the paste and continue this until the scabies symptoms fade away.

neem oil

2. Tea Tree Oil

Coconut oil mixed with tea tree oil can be applied to the affected area and is an effective and safe way to treat scabies infection.

3. Mustard Oil

Apply mustard oil all over your body before going for a shower. This will kill the mites that cause scabies on your body.

4. Other Natural Ways

Another effective way is applying undiluted white vinegar, apricot leaf juice, drumstick juice, calamine lotion and sesame oil mixture followed by a cold compress to treat rashes as well as kill the scabies mites.

Can You Prevent Scabies?

Scabies is hard to prevent as it spreads through contact. But, you can wash your towels, underwear, and sleepwear in hot water, vacuum your carpets and upholstered furniture to minimise the chances of any scabies infection.

Many scabies cases can be cured with no long-term complications. A severe case with lots of crusting or scaling may indicate HIV symptoms. So, if you develop any skin condition or rash during pregnancy, reach out to your doctor and address the situation immediately. Maintaining hygiene and cleanliness during pregnancy is critical in avoiding many illnesses. It is also vital for you to take care of your physical and mental well-being during the prenatal and antenatal phases as your body is going through a lot of changes during this time.

Also Read: Rashes in Pregnancy

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