Pruritus and itching during pregnancy

Pruritus is common during pregnancy. The causes are manifold. If you are pregnant and experience itching, talk to your doctor or midwife.

What causes itching?

The itch itself is caused by the release of substances such as histamine to the skin’s surfacethat induce the urge to scratch. Histamine is a cytokine, i.e. a signaling molecule. Many elements can be at the origin of the production of these substances. Of skin diseases can cause itching such as eczema, ichthyosis (dry skin), hives, psoriasis or allergies. Of infections can also cause itching, like chickenpox, yeast infections, or scabies. Finally, Bites from animals or plants (jellyfish, insects, fleas, lice, nettles…) can cause itching.

itching in pregnant women

Pruritus of pregnancy, especially at the end of pregnancy

Itching is common and occurs during pregnancy especially at night. During pregnancy, the hormonal balance is very different. especially the The sebum secretion is reduced after hormonal changes. «Skin dries more easily during pregnancy,” emphasizes the gynecologist. The skin is less supple, which leads to itching. This feeling of skin dryness is sometimes even more important at the level of stretch marks. These symptoms are particularly noticeable towards the end of pregnancy.

Pregnancy cholestasis: an excess of bile acids”

“In the last trimester of pregnancy, this is possible bile acids build up in the blood, after a malfunction of the gallbladder, explains the gynecologist. Itching occurs all over the body, starting with the soles of the feet and/or the palms of the hands. This itching, in the absence of a dermatosis, can be a symptom of cholestasis of pregnancy, a pathology of the liver. ” This pathology is very common during pregnancy. says dr Jessica Dahan Hall. ” In case of itching, a consultation with the gynecologist or the midwife is essential.” In the case of pregnancy cholestasis, the mother and her baby are closely monitored, through monitoring and thanks to frequent ultrasound examinations., the expert continues. Rest assured, an effect of pregnancy cholestasis on the baby is extremely rare.

Gestational cholestasis is not a rare disease; it refers to about 1% of pregnancies. It occurs more frequently in patients pregnant with twins and its frequency increases with age. This hepatic pathology is called “gravid” if it is related to pregnancy. It will go away on its own after birth. Cholestasis of pregnancy requires close monitoring of the mother and fetus.

A sober blood test is performed to confirm the diagnosis of pregnancy cholestasis: serum dosage of transaminases, bile acids, gamma-glutamyltranspeptidase (gamma-GT). ” A full assessment must be performed to confirm or not the diagnosis. It is necessary to rule out other liver disorders, such as viral hepatitis or a gallbladder stone, before concluding that cholestasis is related to the condition of pregnancy.” closes Jessica Dahan Hall.

There is no treatment for pregnancy pruritus associated with dry skin. Applying a moisturizer daily is enough to relieve the itching.

If pregnancy cholestasis is confirmed drug treatment with ursodeoxycholic acid is prescribed until birth. ” This treatment is effective in relieving pregnancy pruritus. confirms the gynecologist. ” Antihistamines may also be prescribed to relieve itching. »

What symptoms after childbirth?

Very often, the itching of pregnant women is related to their state of pregnancy. In most cases, these are therefore disappear in the days after delivery. On the other hand, it is possible that the itching will come back in a future pregnancy.

In the case of pregnancy cholestasis, the symptoms disappear in 2 to 3 weeks.

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