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As pregnancy progresses, it brings about many changes in a woman’s body. One of the most exciting changes is your growing belly! It is an exhilarating feeling to flaunt the baby bump, but you may face a new challenge along with it, and that is itching on your belly.
Is Itching on Stomach Normal in Pregnancy
Yes, itching on the stomach is normal in pregnancy. That happens because your belly skin stretches as you move ahead with your pregnancy. The stretching causes the surface to get dry, and the moisture-deprived skin tends to get itchy. It happens because of the hormonal changes occurring in your body. You may also feel itchy on the other parts of the body, such as, palms, soles and even on your breasts. Itching usually begins towards the end of the second trimester. However, you may experience it in the first trimester as well. Itching can be extremely uncomfortable, and if you feel that it is increasing, you should seek immediate medical help.
Causes of Itchy Tummy when Pregnant
The most common causes of itching on belly in pregnancy are:
- Hormonal Changes: Increased levels of estrogens usually cause the itching on the abdomen during pregnancy.
- Weight Gain: The growing uterus expands the belly skin. The stretched skin gets dry and feels itchy.
Can Itching on Tummy be Dangerous
Though itching is exceptionally normal, some cases of itchy rash on belly while pregnant can be a matter of grave concern, such as:
1. Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy
PUPPP is a skin rash that resembles hives in appearance, also causes itching on the belly of a pregnant woman. Though this is not a very dangerous condition, it can be very discomforting.
2. Prurigo in Pregnancy
This appears as bug bites and may turn into small cuts. The torso and limbs may get itchy. It occurs towards the end of the second trimester or at the beginning of the third trimester.
3. Impetigo Herpetiformis
This rare condition is a form of psoriasis that may affect a woman during pregnancy. This condition is associated with small pus filled rashes. The pregnant woman and her baby are closely monitored in this condition.
4. Pemphigoid Gestationis
This rare itching condition begins as hives but slowly turns into large blistering lesions. They start around the belly button and may spread to other parts of a pregnant woman.
Cholestasis causes liver problems in pregnancy, and the pregnant woman may feel itchy all over the body. This condition can be extremely harmful to the unborn child and needs immediate treatment.
When to Seek Doctors Help
You should seek immediate medical help if:
- You feel itchy all over your body
- You feel the itch is severe and is spreading to other parts of the body as well
- You feel the dryness of the skin is not the cause of the itch
- You notice a change in colour of your bowels and urine, along with nausea, fatigue and loss of appetite
- You experience severe bouts of rashes and itching because of PUPP
Home Remedies for Itching on Stomach in Pregnancy
Following are some of the home remedies that may prove to be helpful for itching in pregnancy:
1. Aloe Vera for Itching
Apply Aloe Vera twice a day to the affected area. This plant is known for its healing properties, and it soothes the dry and itchy skin.
2. Oatmeal Bath
Soak oatmeal in the bath water and bathe with it. The soothing properties of oatmeal provide relief from itching.
3. Baking Soda Bath
Apply a paste made from baking soda and water to the affected area and let it dry. Baking soda is useful in providing relief from redness and itching.
4. Cold Compression
The skin inflammation and itching can be relieved by applying cold compressions on the affected area.
5. Juniper Berry Oil
Though juniper berries are hard to find, oil made from them works wonders on the itchy skin.
6. Lemon Juice
Lemon juice, when mixed with water and dabbed on the surface, provides relief from skin itching.
7. Gram Flour Paste
The gram flour and water paste applied on affected area makes the skin smooth and soft and thus provides relief from dry itchy skin.
8. Dandelion Root
Boil dandelion roots and use the decoction to assist with the itching caused in cholestasis. (consult your doctor, before taking this decoction)
9. Calamine Lotion
Apply calamine lotion to provide relief from itching.
10. Coconut Oil
Apply extra virgin coconut oil on your belly. Coconut oil is an excellent moisturiser for dry skin.
Steps to Get Relief During Itching
Following steps can be taken to get relief from itching:
- Drink enough water to keep your body hydrated, as hydrated skin itches less.
- Refrain from excessive usage of the air conditioner, as prolonged exposure to ACs dries up the skin.
- Moisturize your skin frequently.
- Refrain from staying out in the hot weather for too long, as hot weather causes dryness and itchiness.
- Dress up in loose, comfortable close as tighter clothes rub against the skin to cause dryness and itching.
- Use milder soaps, as strong smelling soaps tend to make the skin dry.
- Do not take a bath with hot water as hot water devoids the skin of its natural moisture.
- Reduce your salt intake.
Over-the-Counter Products to Relieve Itchy Belly
Belly itching during pregnancy is widespread and there are many over the counter medicines available to help relieve the itch:
1. Vitamin E Lotion
Moderate amount of Vitamin E lotions or capsules are very useful in treating itchy skin during pregnancy.
2. Calamine Lotion
Apply calamine lotion few times in a day to get relief from itching.
3. Oil-Based Moisturizers
Oil-based moisturisers are readily available at any drug store. These are very effective in treating itching.
Most cases of belly itching do not pose severe complications in pregnancy. You may use any home remedial measures or over the counter medicines to treat the itching. However, it is advised to do so in consultation with your doctor. You should also seek immediate medical help if you notice anything unusual about itching during pregnancy.
Also Read: Vaginal Itching during Pregnancy