Mild itching during pregnancy is a common phenomenon. During pregnancy, the blood supply to the skin increases. Pregnant women also experience itching near the belly. This occurs due to the stretching of the skin as the baby grows inside the womb. All these cases of mild itching are considered normal until the itching is severe and incessant.
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Causes of Itchiness During Pregnancy
Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP) or Obstetric Cholestasis (OC)
This is a liver condition that can cause severe itching throughout the body. However, some women complain of itching only in and around the hands and feet. In this condition, the flow of bile is disrupted that results in a bile buildup in the body. This is a very common condition that occurs in the third trimester which requires immediate medical attention as this can lead to complications such as preterm birth and stillbirth.
In this condition, pregnant women develop small bumps that look like insect bites. These causes itchiness and develop due to the change in hormones. These can occur at any point during pregnancy and can continue even after post-delivery. Although this doesn’t possess any risk on the baby, it can become a nuisance and come in between the joy of becoming a mother.
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Home Remedies for Itchiness During Pregnancy
Luckily, there are some home remedies that can help get relief from the itchiness that is common during pregnancy, especially during the third trimester.
Applying a cold compress
A cold compress works by cooling and numbing the itching area. Not only from the itching but applying a cold compress also reduces swelling. This is what makes it the safest option for itchiness during pregnancy. Apply the ice pack on the affected area that is itching for 5-10 minutes. This remedy provides instantaneous relief.
Using lemon juice
To relieve the itchiness, lemon juice also works wonders. Lemons have soothing capabilities that can help get relief. But it is important to make sure that the juice is diluted. Add a few drops of lemon juice in a bowl of water and with the help of a cotton swab, dab the solution over the area which is itching.
Making a gram flour paste
Besan is a kitchen ingredient that works wonders for the skin. The same goes for the itchiness that occurs during pregnancy. Besan or gram flour is used widely to keep the skin fresh and soft. Making gram flour paste moisturizes the skin and thereby, reduces itchiness. To reap the benefits of this remedy, it is recommended to use milk instead of water to make the paste.
Applying calamine lotion
Calamine lotion is the magic wand for pregnant ladies. During pregnancy, women suffer from a polymorphic eruption of pregnancy (PEP) which is a condition in which the skin becomes itchy and red rashes develop all over the body. Apply a small amount of calamine lotion and massage it gently to cover the entire area. It is important to keep the skin moisturized, especially during pregnancy.
Using coconut oil
Coconut oil is the most effective home remedy that can be used for moisturizing. This works by going deep inside the dry skin and providing a moisturizing layer to improve skin hydration. Coconut oil is rich in antimicrobial properties that treat inflammation as well as itchiness. Sometimes, the itching can be due to an infection. Applying coconut oil can also cure such infections. (Also Read: 9 Benefits of Coconut Water During Pregnancy )
Adding baking soda during a bath
Baking soda eliminates itchiness in the area by restoring the pH balance which is a necessity for healthy skin. Baking soda can provide relief from dry skin and itching along with any accompanying pain. It is rich in antifungal properties hence, it can cure any fungal skin condition. Add a quarter of a cup of baking soda in a warm bath. You can also make a paste and apply it to the area and then again rinse it off with warm water.
Applying aloe vera gel
This plant has various health benefits. Known for its anti-inflammatory properties and hydrating constituents, it moisturizes the skin making it soft and soothing relieving of any itchiness. You can take one leaf and scoop out the gel. Massage it onto the itching area. This gel can be applied two times a day.
Gynecologists also prescribe avoiding irritants as these make the itchiness worse. Some irritants are-
- Hot water
Taking a hot bath or shower squeezes out the moisture from the skin. This leads to dryness, redness, and itching. Hence, take some degrees down while showering or taking a bath.
- Scented skincare products
Certain products contain added perfumes and fragrances, that can worsen the irritation. Therefore, avoiding these products can help.
- Wool and synthetic fibers
Refrain from wearing clothes made from these fibers. These fibers are rough against the skin and can cause itchiness and irritation. Instead, wear loose-fitting cotton clothes.
One of the triggers of itchiness can be stress. Pregnant women can practice yoga or mindfulness meditation to curb itchiness.
Prevention of Itchiness during Pregnancy
With each passing trimester, the belly grows and the itchiness can become more severe. Consider the following tips to prepare yourself better for such issues.
- Wear clothes made of cotton or other breathable fabrics.
- Refrain from wearing tight clothes.
- Do not use fragrance products as these can irritate the skin.
- Good hygiene is a must!
- Change damp clothing immediately.
- Reduce stress levels with prenatal yoga, meditation or deep breathing. (Also Read: How To Meditate During Pregnancy? )
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