Pregnancy Rash: Can It Be Prevented?

Pregnancy is a time of many changes -- fluctuating hormones, physical changes to the body as the baby grows, swelling feet and stretchmarks. It also can bring about a harmless but itchy and uncomfortable rash! The rash, known as PUPPS, happens to less than 1 percent of pregnant women, but Dr. Alquali regularly advises her pregnant patients about their risk of contracting PUPPPS, what it means and how to manage it.

What Is PUPPPS? 

PUPPPS stands for pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy. PUPPPS is a rash of red bumps that appears usually on the stomach, but can spread to other areas, like the arms and legs. The rash is often inflamed and is always extremely itchy, leaving women very uncomfortable. In some cases, the rash is so severe, the only unscathed areas are the soles of the feet and the palms of the hands.

What Causes PUPPPS for Pregnant Women? 

The cause of PUPPPS is unknown, although some researchers believe there is a connection between the rash and stretchmarks. Stretchmarks develop when the hormonal changes in the skin impede the body’s ability to produce collagen, a protein necessary for the skin to stretch. For many patients with PUPPPS, their rash begins in their stretchmarks.

Who Gets PUPPPS? 

Although PUPPPS can happen to anyone pregnant woman, the condition is most frequently seen during first pregnancies and in women who are carrying multiples, like twins or triplets. Women who gain a large amount of weight during their pregnancy also tend to develop the condition. Interestingly, almost two-thirds of the women who develop PUPPPS have boys, which may show a link between male hormones and the condition. The condition usually shows up in the last trimester.

I’m Pregnant: How Can I Prevent PUPPPs? How Can I Treat It? 

Unfortunately, there is no way to prevent PUPPPS. The best course of action is to understand that you may develop the condition as a result of your pregnancy, and prepare to treat it happens. If you do develop a rash, be sure to let Dr. Mona Alquali know so you can get a proper diagnosis. There are other rashes and skin conditions that can develop during pregnancy that may be of concern.

There are many home remedies for PUPPPS, but be sure to discuss them with Dr. Alqulali. One safe option is skin-calming treatments like aloe vera, Cetaphil or oatmeal baths.

Fortunately, PUPPPS goes away upon delivering your baby, but many women experience an increase in severity of symptoms right before they deliver.

If you have questions about PUPPPS or any other skin condition during your pregnancy, call Dr. Alqulali at 1-888-716-0559.


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