Pregnancy and skin diseases

February 06, 2009

Ever wondered about your pimples, pigmentations and darkening of the skin during pregnancy and after child birth?

Changes in the body during pregnancy are inevitable. The skin changes in pregnancy are classified into hormone-related, preexisting,and pregnancy-specific. Hormone changes are normal leading to acne, hyperpigmentation, stretch marks, rashes, spider veins, change in the texture and growth of hair and nail growth and so on. Luckily, some women get their skin glowing during pregnancy.

There may be a change in the preexisting skin conditions during those times. Skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis  and fungal infection may worsen or improve. Some women develop Pregnancy-specific skin conditions including pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy, impetigo herpetiformis, prurigo of pregnancy, intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy or pruritic folliculitis of pregnancy.

Out of these side-effects of pregnancy some can have serious complications for both the mother and the baby, most of them only require symptomatic treatment or may go away after child birth.

1)    An itchy motherhood with Intrahepatic Cholestasis

An itchiness is experienced by some expectant mothers in the third trimester of pregnancy. The risk factor is that there is a possibility of developing jaundice within 2 weeks after experiencing itchiness. Intrahepatic Cholestasis is the result of the impairment of bile secretion in the liver. As a consequence, the bile builds up in the liver emerging into the bloodstream. The bile acids in the mother’s bloodstream get deposited in her skin causing all her itching.

This impairment in bile secretion also puts stress on the liver of the fetus causing a few other complications like meconium staining during delivery, preterm delivery or intrauterine death. The underlying causes of Intrahepatic Cholestasis is seen to be hereditary. Intrahepatic Cholestasis  add s to the mother’s discomfort with anorexia, fatigue, greasy stools and so on.

2)    Pruritic urticarial papules and plaques of pregnancy (PUPPP)

It is dermatitis that develops in the form a rash around the stretch marks in the third trimester, of a first pregnancy.  Also known as polymorphic eruption of pregnancy , these rashes are highly itchy in the form of small dark dots. Idiopathic, PUPPP often is cured with symptomatic treatment. It is more or less devoid of any complications.

3)    Impetigo Herpetiformis

It is an uncommon skin condition affecting some women in the second half of their pregnancy and can recur in the following pregnancies.

The rashes further give way to bumps filled with pus spreading all over. It also brings along fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue. This idiopathic medical condition is potentially dangerous as it endangers the life of the fetus and hence the mother is monitored from the first time she experiences the disease.

Never take the risk of not consulting your doctor when you experience even the slightest of skin irritations during pregnancy. Notify your doctor immediately when you have a skin problem.

-Aparna K V

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