Causes of a Rash During Pregnancy

A skin rash during pregnancy is not unheard of. There are many different types of rashes that a woman can experience when she is pregnant, some of them being completely harmless while others possibly needing medical attention. The main concern when it comes to a rash during pregnancy is to make sure that the cause is not a serious illness such as measles or chicken pox, both of which can be extremely harmful to a pregnant woman and her fetus. In this article we are going to talk about some of the possible causes behind trash is that can occur in pregnancy, as well as ways that these conditions may be treated, and recognizing when it's time to see the doctor.

Typical Skin Changes Associated with Pregnancy

There are a lot of changes to the body goes through during pregnancy, and the skin is no exception to the strange is. Some changes are very common such as darkening of the skin so that it has a brownish appearance in certain areas such as the face or a line down stomach. Conditions include darkening of moles, ask me which can be so widespread that it appears to be a rash, darkening of the nipples, and the development of skin tags (especially on the neck, inside of the arms, and other creases in the upper body). The only one of these conditions which can remotely resemble a rash is acne. Sometimes the development of acne can be unsettling to women who have not dealt with this issue on a large scale. Rather than the large, red, and painful bumps that one might expect with acne, it can also cause the development of small bumps that resemble pin-pricks, which spread out over an area on the body—like the back, chest, cheeks or forehead, and even shoulders.

Pruritic Urticarial Papules and Plaques of Pregnancy

Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy, or PUPPP, is a condition that occurs in about one of every 150 pregnant women. It is characterized by a red, bumpy, and itchy rash that starts out usually around the belly button but it can be found on other parts of the abdomen and even the upper legs. This condition is most likely to affect very small women, first time mothers, and women who are carrying more than one child. The truth is that researchers aren't exactly sure what causes this type of rash during pregnancy. One thought is that it may be caused by the fetus's cells because being mixed in with mom to be skin cells. Another thought is that it could be a genetic issue that is carried by men but can be passed down to their daughters. It can then pop up when mom-to-be reaches the third trimester as this is the time in which her skin is stretched out the most, making it dry, sensitive, and vulnerable. Women who are carrying more than one child and therefore experiencing greater stretching of the skin, are more likely to experience this condition earlier on in the pregnancy.

PUPPP can be eased and treated a number of ways. Many women find that bathing with oatmeal in the bath water or even baking soda helps to reduce the itchiness and soothe irritated skin. It may also be helpful to apply a cool, damp washcloth to the area for several minutes as many times as necessary to achieve relief. Skin gels and creams that contain aloe may also help to reduce redness and irritation, as may anti-itch creams. It is important to make sure that any anti-itch cream that may be used is safe for pregnant women, as some products may seem too risky to use on a skin rash during pregnancy due to steroid content.

Pregnancy Prurigo

Prurigo is a condition that causes small itchy bumps to form on the skin. In pregnant women, the areas most likely to be affected by this rash are the arms, legs, and sometimes the trunk. Other than the annoyance of itchiness, prurigo is not considered to be dangerous for mom-to-be or her unborn baby, although it can lead to skin damage if the affected areas are scratched. Unlike PUPPP, this type of rash during pregnancy can occur at any time during the nine month period and at any part of the body. It is typically treated with the help of over the counter anti-itch creams, emollients, and body lotion to keep the skin moisturized. Prurigo usually goes away after childbirth.


Gestational cholestasis is a severe condition that is triggered by excessive amounts of bile build up in mom-to-be’s system. The liver is responsible for producing and releasing bile as it is needed, but severe changes in mom’s hormones can cause the liver to function a little slower than usual. The high stress that the liver is put under throughout pregnancy can also cause it to function more slowly. Cholestasis can also be accompanied by jaundice, itchiness of the hands and feet, dark urine, light colored feces, nausea, vomiting, and pain in area of the liver. Any pregnant woman who is experiencing these symptoms should see her doctor straight away. Cholestasis can become a very serious illness if it is not caught and treated early on.