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Itching during Pregnancy – causes and treatment

About 20 percent of all pregnant women have some kind of generalized skin itching. Hormones and stretching of the skin (especially your growing belly) are probably to blame for their discomfort.
About two thirds of all pregnant women have red and itchy palms and soles, a condition that experts think is caused by increased estrogen. In general, it disappears immediately after the baby is born.

Causes:
– The most common cause of itching during pregnancy is the growth of the uterus to accommodate the new baby. As a result, the skin is stretched and itchy. The skin also itches when dry. Xerosis is the term used to describe the condition of dry skin.
– Some women develop skin rashes during pregnancy. The hormones produced during pregnancy act on the body, which is already overheated. The skin rubs against itself or against clothing, and because of the sweat, the skin gets wet which eventually causes the rash. Rashes are also due to prickly heat. These are a bit irritating and are more common in skin folds and wrinkles.
– Some gestures develop a rare disease called scrapie. It results from the formation of small bumps on the body. It mostly occurs in the legs, hands, feet and arms. Also it does not cause any harm to you and your baby, but it is certainly irritating.
– Some pregnant women develop a new condition known as gestational pemphigoid. This condition is characterized by itchy rashes hives. Hives forms lesions that look like blisters. This condition indicates some complications that can lead to fetal growth retardation and preterm delivery. It usually occurs during the third quarter, but there are cases that occurred in early pregnancy.
– Intrahepatic cholestatic pruritus is another condition that occurs during pregnancy. Approximately 2% of pregnant women suffer from cholestasis. It results due to pooling of bile salts, a liver problem. The bile does not flow normally in the small ducts of the liver and gets accumulated in the body. This causes excessive itching during pregnancy. Sometimes the itching is so severe that women end up scratching the skin.

Treatment:
Itchy skin can be treated by trying the following:-

– Apply moisturizer with aloe Vera or calamine. The aloe Vera is anti-bacterial and anti-fungal and nourishes and protects skin. Calamine lotion can also be effective.
– Use a mild soap or shower gel, it will not dry your skin. Dry skin is often itchy. The skin is slightly acidic in nature and use of an alkaline soap can dry the skin out. Most soaps are alkaline, some are neutral pH and fewer still have the same acidity of your skin. Try a neutral pH soap.
– Massage your body with coconut oil or olive oil before a bath. Avoid using a brush or sponge body until the skin stops itching.
– Boil a few neem leaves in a cup of water and add this mixture to your bath water. Some women feel that it relieves itching.
– Wear loose cotton clothing that allows your skin to breathe, especially during the summer months.
– Rash or prickly heat can also cause itching. Try not to avoid going out in the heat of the day, if you can.
– Eat a diet rich in vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene and zinc, and drink enough water to keep your skin soft and hydrated.
– Use a soft clean cloth to gently rub the affected areas. Do not use nails, which can draw blood and infect the skin.
– Sometimes, detergent residues on clothing can make you itch for drying out your skin. Choose a mild detergent and rinse your clothes thoroughly.

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